Churches urged to get political on 'Politics Sunday' - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
June 15, 2004

Churches urged to get political on 'Politics Sunday'

-15/6/04

In a move that may prove controversial, Christians in the major political parties are encouraging churches to mark the first "Politics Sunday" this weekend.

The day is an initiative of Christians in Politics ("CIP"), the umbrella group comprising the Christian Socialist Movement, the Conservative Christian Fellowship and the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum.

Including many members of Parliament, together their membership includes an estimated 15-20% of the House of Commons.

The day may provoke robust debate however as it appears to emphasise one particular form of political engagement through the parties and elections, rather than a broader Christian conception of politics that also takes into account the churches' prophetic role.

It also comes hot on the heels of the European and local elections which saw churches challenge extremist parties.

The date for 'Politics Sunday' has been chosen as it is the nearest to the feast day of St Thomas More, patron of statesmen and politicians.

There will be a number of special services around the country featuring talks and sermons on Christian participation in party politics, testimonies from Christian party activists, and information on opportunities for involvement.

Churchgoers are being urged to think about and pray for politicians, to see informed voting as a Christian duty and even to consider joining a political party or standing for election themselves.

Suggested examples of prayers and readings from scripture have been made available for churches which focus on obedience to, and prayer for those in authority. However there is little on the churches' role of challenging Government and holding it to account.

Commending the first "Politics Sunday", Graham Clark, Project Manager of Christians in Politics, said; "Whilst Christians may disagree on public policy issues, they can nevertheless unite on 'Politics Sunday' in affirming the vital contribution made by fellow believers to the major political parties."

"Whether responding to the cry for help of a near neighbour at a councillor's advice surgery, or negotiating changes in the rules governing international trade for the benefit of the neighbour in need thousands of miles away, Christians are serving others through political engagement."

Churches urged to get political on 'Politics Sunday'

-15/6/04

In a move that may prove controversial, Christians in the major political parties are encouraging churches to mark the first "Politics Sunday" this weekend.

The day is an initiative of Christians in Politics ("CIP"), the umbrella group comprising the Christian Socialist Movement, the Conservative Christian Fellowship and the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum.

Including many members of Parliament, together their membership includes an estimated 15-20% of the House of Commons.

The day may provoke robust debate however as it appears to emphasise one particular form of political engagement through the parties and elections, rather than a broader Christian conception of politics that also takes into account the churches' prophetic role.

It also comes hot on the heels of the European and local elections which saw churches challenge extremist parties.

The date for 'Politics Sunday' has been chosen as it is the nearest to the feast day of St Thomas More, patron of statesmen and politicians.

There will be a number of special services around the country featuring talks and sermons on Christian participation in party politics, testimonies from Christian party activists, and information on opportunities for involvement.

Churchgoers are being urged to think about and pray for politicians, to see informed voting as a Christian duty and even to consider joining a political party or standing for election themselves.

Suggested examples of prayers and readings from scripture have been made available for churches which focus on obedience to, and prayer for those in authority. However there is little on the churches' role of challenging Government and holding it to account.

Commending the first "Politics Sunday", Graham Clark, Project Manager of Christians in Politics, said; "Whilst Christians may disagree on public policy issues, they can nevertheless unite on 'Politics Sunday' in affirming the vital contribution made by fellow believers to the major political parties."

"Whether responding to the cry for help of a near neighbour at a councillor's advice surgery, or negotiating changes in the rules governing international trade for the benefit of the neighbour in need thousands of miles away, Christians are serving others through political engagement."

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