Kirk equips congregations with new resources ahead of General Election
Published on 21 November 2019 3 minutes read
The Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office (SCPO) and the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) have launched a series of new policy briefings, questions and reflections to help local churches approach the upcoming General Election on 12 December from the perspective of their faith and make informed choices.
Following the announcement that churches across Scotland will be holding General Election hustings to try and help people decide who to vote for, Irene MacKinnon of the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office (SCPO) encouraged congregations to get involved and make use of the new material.
"We have been given the opportunity to elect the next government of the United Kingdom and it is helpful to reflect on what we would like this government to do, and what we would like it to value in the years ahead," Irene said.
"We have created these resources, alongside our colleagues in JPIT, to address some of the main issues surrounding the decision that we will make on 12 December, and as a way to think about the values that are important to us.
"We want to give people the tools to explore subjects in an in-depth way, help congregations to consider what to ask their candidates, and hopefully lead to insightful and meaningful discussion about our future and what really matters.
"The resources look at poverty in the UK, and in particular, our welfare system, refugees and asylum seekers, the climate emergency, our relationship with the rest of the world, Scottish independence and the reality of Brexit."
JPIT, which is made up of the Church of Scotland, the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church, work together for peace and justice; helping local churches speak out with a distinctively Christian voice on injustice, and to resource them to reflect and campaign effectively.
Love, Pray, Vote
Designed to be flexible and dynamic to fit with your local congregation's needs, each new resource can be used on its own or together as a full pack.
These new resources, which can be freely downloaded and shared amongst congregations, include:
- Summarised policy briefings– One-page briefings on key policies (e.g. public services, poverty, refugees, the climate emergency, etc.), reflecting on why we, as Christians, think these areas are important, as well as questions you can use to reflect on. The policy briefings also include within them:
- Questions for reflection – Short reflections on our approach to political life as Christians, and the shifting landscape in which we consider it.
- Question ideas for local candidates – Key questions from each policy area which can be used to ask your local candidates at a hustings.
- A guide to holding a hustings – Advice on areas such as how to ask questions which hold your MP accountable, safety and practicalities, legal advice, and live streaming your hustings.
Churches such as Livingston United Parish Church, the Fellowship of Kilmarnock Churches, Greyfriars Parish Church in Lanark, and St Michael's Parish Church in Linlithgow, are so far planning to hold hustings events ahead of the poll on 12 December.
Worship during Brexit
For more support to congregations during the ongoing shifts in British politics, the Church of Scotland has also recently released worship materials which can be used as part of Brexit discussions in local churches, to help promote respectful dialogue amongst people of faith.
You can access the materials, which include blessings, graces, Bible studies, guides and prayers, on our Worship During Brexit page.
There are also a series of prayers written by those from across the Church of Scotland and our partner organisations on the topic of Brexit which you can read on our Brexit Prayers page.
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland have also written a selection of prayers about Brexit which you can download and use for reflection.