Bishop’s Letter: You’re joking. Not another one!
“You’re joking. Not another one?! Oh for God’s sake, I can’t, honestly – I can’t stand this. There’s too much politics going on at the moment. Why does she need to do it?” In a television news clip seen by millions, Brenda from Bristol summed up the response of many of us on learning about the forthcoming General Election. (If you’re one of the few who escaped it – Brenda not the General Election – click here) (And let me say sorry right now to be sharing the taking in vain of the Lord’s name on the hallowed pages of SeeRound). After an election two years ago and the bitterly divisive referendum of 2016, do we really need to go to the polls again this year?
Well, whether we agree or not with the Prime Minister’s decision, there’s not much we can do to change it; the election will happen on June 8th whether we like it or not. The question becomes what do we do about it – book an all-inclusive break to avoid it all on the plains of central Mongolia or get with the programme and engage with what’s happening. Certainly, the election will determine much of what happens in our lives for the next five years and, through controlling who will lead on negotiations about Brexit, will impact on us all long after that. What might our response as Christians be? I think we have to be involved for a number of reasons. Here are just five that were cited back in 2015 (ah those heady days) by President of the London School of Theology, Krish Kandiah:
1. Voting publicly recognises that we submit to the authority of the political system in our nation as established by God. (Romans 13:1-7)
2. Voting recognises the equality of all people and their right to speak and be heard. (Deuteronomy 10:17-19)
3. It is one way that we can obey God’s command to seek the good of those around us and our nation as a whole. (Jeremiah 29:5-6)
4. It shows that we care deeply about who our leaders are as we are urged to offer prayer and intercession on their behalf. (1 Timothy 2:1,2)
5. It is a simple yet significant way we can do something about politics in our nation. ‘All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing’, Edmund Burke. (Psalms 34:14)
As scripture says, “We’re all in this together” (John 1:14) so love it or loathe it may I encourage you to involve yourself with all that’s to happen: pray for the election; engage in the debates, cast your vote and encourage others to do so; think about whether your church could hold a hustings (we’re one of the few groups still considered neutral enough to do this).
And with a bit of luck, in the spirit of Brenda, may this be the last one we have to deal with for the next few years.
Dr Michael Beasley, Bishop of Hertford
Breaking News: Archbishops’ election letter to parishes available from midnight 5/5 on www.stalbans.anglican.org/electionletter/
The team at Parish Buying are increasingly concerned by reports of parishes being approached by external energy companies, who appear to mislead them regarding the Parish Buying Service using fabricated facts and figures.
The Parish Buying Service was set up by the Church of England to save parishes money, and to protect churches from companies who may not have their best interests at heart. They wish to avoid situations where churches have signed up for something they may later regret.
A clergyman was approached by one energy broker that tried to persuade him to leave the Parish Buying Energy Basket.‘The company had been recommended on the basis that they had saved churches a lot of money compared to the Parish Buying scheme. Upon investigation, not only had the broker falsely stated renewal prices relating to the Parish Buying Energy Basket, but they had also used incorrect consumption figures to inflate the “saving”. The correct comparison showed that rather than being £4,500 cheaper over 3 years, they were in fact £10,200 more expensive than Parish Buying.
Parish Buying’s position is that they have always encouraged parishes who have good reasons for using other suppliers to continue to do so. Their advice is to proceed with caution. If a quote seems too good to be true, it probably is.