Bishop’s pastoral letter re 2017 General Election
23rd April 2017
We were all taken by surprise by the Prime Minister’s decision to call for a General Election which will take place on 8th June. I am sure that most of you will already be thinking and praying about our role in the election and the way we, as Christian leaders, can play our part. May I suggest six things are important at this stage.
- Encourage everyone to pray for the election, both individually and corporately during public worship over the coming weeks. There are some excellent resources from CTBI, prepared for the 2015 election, but still largely relevant. They are available at https://ctbi.org.uk/general-election-2015-preparing-for-the-general-election-a-2020-vision-of-the-good-society/
- It is early days, so please watch https://www.stalbans.anglican.org in case there is more from the church nationally as politicians’ campaigns gets fully underway.
- You may wish to revisit the House of Bishops’ letter which we issued before the 2015 election, called Who is my Neighbour. It contains a great deal of relevant and useful material. It is available via the link above and also at https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/whoismyneighbour-pages.pdf
- Exhort everyone to engage in the debates and cast their vote. It is especially important that we encourage the young to register and to vote. A useful resource is the Bite the Ballot (http://bitetheballot.co.uk/)
- For Rural Deans, Lay Chairs, clergy and Readers it will be important to consult quickly with our ecumenical partners and to build on our previous practice of hosting hustings. We are still considered an honest broker by most people and can offer our churches and halls for these meetings. You will recall that legislation surrounding charities and hustings is very strict and we have made available essential advice from The Churches Legislation Advisory Service. They have issued an update to their advice from 2014, here: https://www.stalbans.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/Circular-2017-11.pdf with the earlier advice also available here: https://www.stalbans.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/Circular-2014-17revised.pdf
With best wishes for this season of Easter,
+Alan St Albans