Major churches in the West Midlands have produced Tomorrows Country a churchgoers’ manifesto for the 2015 General Election. The manifesto is based on regional research by Church leaders that highlights the key political issues for members of their congregations, and aims at better enabling churchgoers to question parliamentary candidates on the topics that matter most to them.
A background booklet explains how the research was undertaken, gives a longer version of the Manifesto and raises questions for discussion.
The West Midlands Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church surveyed hundreds of churchgoers in the West Midlands. The results revealed that over 95% of respondents wanted to see a society that is compassionate, caring, fair, just, honest, respectful and tolerant. When asked about the policies that would guarantee such a society, there was virtual agreement in many areas such as the need to protect the vulnerable, increase penalties for tax evasion, and guarantee more housing for first time buyers.
The Revd. Roy Lowes, Moderator of the United Reformed Church’s West Midlands Synod, said: “The research and the Manifesto leaflet produced by and for churchgoers outlines the issues that matter most to them in the run up to the General Election. Poverty, benefits and welfare are just some of the key topics the Manifesto focuses on and churchgoers want to know how political candidates are going to tackle these problems.”
The Revd John Howard, Methodist District Chair of Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury added: “There is a need for Christians to voice their concerns in the run up to the General Election in order to promote the common good in our society. We hope that the Manifesto will encourage churches and others to do just this by getting involved in the crucial debates, holding hustings, and questioning political candidates about the policies set out in ‘Tomorrow’s Country’.”
‘The manifesto and background booklet are being sent out to Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches churches in the West Midlands region and available for download on the West Midlands United Reformed Church Synod website http://www.urc-westmidlands.org.uk
Churchgoers are also being encouraged to use the national JPIT election resources, including short films, bible studies and reflections that aim to better equip churches for the election, available at http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/