The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford has urged people to respect different viewpoints and ‘Honour the gift of truth’ in the run-up to the General Election.
Addressing Diocesan Synod, the Bishop set out Ten Commandments for Voters and Candidates.
As well as encouraging people to vote, the Bishop recognised the need for a diversity of views.
Bishop Stephen said:
Iron sharpens iron. We need a diversity of views and ways of working together in order to find ways forward that honour conscientiously held disagreement.”
The Bishop also called for people to evaluate party policies by their impact on the poor and marginalised in society and to consider the common good of all.
The Bishop continued:
Vote for what you believe will best serve the common good of all - and not just in the UK but across the world. Our best interests are always tied up with the best interests of our neighbour. This is the Christian way.”
The final commandment is to pray.
“Pray for the election and for all who are standing for election. Pray for the unity, peace and prosperity of our nation. Pray for our future relationship with Europe -whatever the deal, no deal or second referendum we end up with”
says Bishop Stephen.
Ten Commandments for Voters and Candidates
Voting is a privilege and democratic duty. People have died so that we can have a vote. When we vote we express our commitment to ourselves, to each other, to our country, and to the world. Make sure you are registered to vote. You have till midnight on 26th November to do this. Use this link www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. The polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm.
2. Read and scrutinise the policy and manifestos of each party.
3. Remember the environment (it is an even more important issue than Brexit!)
4. Evaluate policies by their impact on the poor, the neglected, the rejected, the marginalised and the broken.
5. Respect the views of those with whom you disagree.
Iron sharpens iron. We need a diversity of views and ways of working together in order to find ways forward that honour conscientiously held disagreement.
6. Honour the gift of truth. Do not slander, ridicule or misrepresent your opponents.
Reject the language of prejudice. Do not stoke stigma or hatred towards people on the grounds of their religion, their culture, their origin, their identity or their belief.
7. Get to know who your local candidates are and what they think about local issues.
Remember, you are electing a representative whom you believe will be wise enough to change their mind where necessary and respond to new challenges and new circumstances when they arise, not a delegate who will always do everything you want. In five years’ time you can change your mind too.
8. Try not to lose your sense of humour.
It will all be over soon. Whoever gets elected can only be as good as their ability to work with others and our readiness to support them and give them a chance.
9. Don’t just vote for the outcome that best serves you.
Vote for what you believe will best serve the common good of all - and not just in the UK but across the world. Our best interests are always tied up with the best interests of our neighbour. This is the Christian way.
Pray for the election and for all who are standing for election. Pray for the unity, peace and prosperity of our nation. Pray for our future relationship with Europe - whatever the deal, no deal or second referendum we end up with.
Archbishops’ election message
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written a pastoral letter to the Church of England, which encourages people to play their part in the political process but to also listen to those with different viewpoints.
Read the letter from Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu - https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/time-leave-our-echo-chambers-and-listen-others-say-archbishops-general
The Diocesan Synod was held on 23 November 2019 at Chelmsford Cathedral
The Synod discussed a new policy for ministry deployment, including a change in the way the vacancy process for stipendiary clergy is managed. Revd Ade Eleyae, Bishop’s Equality Adviser, also delivered a presentation on the document ‘Pastoral Principles for Living Well Together’ - pastoral guidelines issued by the Church of England.
The full agenda and papers can be found at - www.chelmsford.anglican.org/committees/diocesan-synod .
The Synod is the regional assembly of Chelmsford Diocese - the Church of England in Essex and East London.