Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Bournemouth in September - with the Liberal Democrats

It's party conference time! Having just returned from the Liberal Democrats’ conference in Bournemouth, I am very conscious of how many important issues our country is facing at the moment. The decision we shall be expoected to make in a few months’ time when we vote at the General Election will be of massive significance for the future of our society and our world. As Christians, we need to be involved in this process, to make sure the right questions are asked and heard. But also to support and encourage people of goodwill who are willing to serve in politics, (despite the way the media seek to sensationalise stories of malpractice and rarely give credit for integrity and commitment to public service which is the basis on which so many people get involved in politics at both local and national levels). One of my fears is that the effect of recent stories on the public perception of politicians will lead many people not to vote, or will lead others to vote for some of the minor parties whose policies are extremist and racist. Methodists have an honourable tradition of active political involvement. We need to be actively involved now more than ever! Please use your vote, ask questions and get involved!!

One of the events I attended in Bournemouth was organised by churches along with the organisation ‘Citizens for Sanctuary’. The more I hear the stories of sanctuary seekers – the situations from which they have fled and the treatment they have received in our country – the more I believe this is one of our major issues. I am delighted that so many individual Christians and churches are active, both in campaigning on the issue and in offering support to those seeking sanctuary. I spoke of this in my address to the Conference, and referred to the concept of ‘Cities of Sanctuary’, in whose development Inderjit Bhogal is deeply involved. ‘Citizens for Sanctuary’ is a different initiative and the hope is to get politicians of all parties to commit themselves to a more responsible understanding of what ‘sanctuary’ is about and what should be done about it. I joined other church leaders and politicians in signing up to this. Again, I encourage you to find out more and get involved. Inderjit and Craig Barnett have written a book, ‘Becoming a City of Sanctuary’. It’s both an interesting read and an inspiration to do something about it. (For details go to

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We hear a great deal from politicians on the 'assisted suicide' topic but the churches have kept very quiet. Why is this?