WHAT NEXT? The General Election has provided an important opportunity for churches to be light and salt in their local community. However, itâ€™s vitally important that we donâ€™t limit our connection of faith and politics to voting. Now that the election is over, there are many ways for you and your church to engage with the local community. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
Get to know your MP
The period after an election provides a perfect opportunity to get to know your MP. There are a number of ways to do this: • • •
Commit to praying for your MP. Write to them to let them know you are praying for them. Attend their surgery. Invite them to your church for a Sunday service or to experience some of the activities that take place in your church throughout the week.
See SUSA’s resource: Making contact with your elected representatives
Join a political party Being a member of a party allows you to influence the political debate. As a member you are entitled to vote on some party issues, join committees, participate in the formation of policy and share in the selection of candidates for election at local and national level. Ultimately you could be selected to contest an election! Visit www.christiansinpolitics.org.uk for more information
Engage with local government
Pray for Parliament
Local councils have significant powers to shape our lives and communities at local government level. With jurisdiction for things like education, social services, licensing and planning councillors are highly influential representatives in your local community.
Pray for local and national politics. Join CARE’s ‘Rapid Response Group’ and receive occasional urgent email prayer requests about happenings in the Westminster Parliament.
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How much do you know about your local councillors? How much does your local council know about the activities your church offers to the local community? Have you ever considered becoming a local councillor?
Sign up for CARE’s weekly email bulletin Impact Direct and follow @careorguk on Twitter to stay informed. Visit www.care.org.uk for resources and advice on how to be light and salt to government.
Email email@example.com and ask to be added to the Rapid Response Prayer Group
Become a school governor School governors are in a highly strategic position and have a significant opportunity to bring positive influence to a school. Being a school governor is demanding and challenging work, but provides an opportunity to influence a range of important decisions in the life of a school. www.transforminggoverning.org.uk
Pray for your local Schools
Join or start a prayer group for your local school. See: www.prayforschools.org for more information
Explore setting up an evaluate team CARE’s evaluate… informing choice programme brings a positive message about sexuality, relationships and identity to children in schools. evaluate educators are volunteers who have a heart for young people and a desire to change the sexual climate prevalent today. This autumn we will launch the evaluate primary schools program. Could your church set up an evaluate team? See: www.evaluate.org.uk
Prepare for future leadership
Are you a university student? Geared towards the equipping of young graduate Christians to be leaders in the world of public policy and wider culture, the Leadership Programme offers you the opportunity to wrestle with the knowledge of God’s sovereignty and its implications for how we are to engage in our complex and rapidly changing culture. A full-time year long programme, it combines voluntary placements in the world of policy and advocacy with intensive study, ensuring that you are not only challenged in your thinking but also in your praxis. See: www.care.org.uk/leadershipprogramme Have you thought about getting involved in student politics? It’s a fantastic opportunity to serve your fellow students, and many who have gone on to successful careers in politics have ‘cut their teeth’ in the world of student politics. Read SUSA’s ‘Getting Involved in Student Politics’ for more information.
Investigate social media
Twitter, Facebook, Youtube... the election has shown the growing power of social media. Is your church active on the internet? The significance of the social web is growing. Are you going to be part of the online conversation? Follow Celia Bowring, writer of the CARE Prayer Guide, Loose the Chains targeting prayer concerns about human trafficking and exploitation, ‑and CARE’s Development Officer Gareth Davies - who also writes the CARE blog
‘Community Sunday’ A Community Sunday is an opportunity for churches to invite someone who is active in their local community (MP, local councillor, head teacher, community police officer etc) to come to a Sunday service and tell the church about their work. Churches who have held Community Sundays have been encouraged by the positive relationships that have developed.
12 Explore what the Bible has to say about Faith and Politics What does the Bible say about faith and politics? Start to explore the questions with: CARE’s Faith & Politics Bible studies Study resources from SUSA
Raise awareness of trafficking and exploitation
Human trafficking and sexual exploitation continues to be a problem in the UK. CARE’s partner Beyond the Streets offers help to those caught up in prostitution and trafficking. Could your church hold a ‘Loose the Chains’ event to raise awareness of these issues? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Support a local Pregnancy Crisis Centre
CareConfidential runs over 150 pregnancy crisis centres across the UK supporting women facing an unplanned pregnancy or the effects of an abortion. Could you support the work of CareConfidential by prayer or volunteering at your local centre? See www.careconfidential.com for details of your nearest centre.
Invite CARE to speak at your church Members of CARE’s development team regularly speak at churches across the UK. In Sunday services, Bible studies or special events, CARE will provide a dynamic and inspiring opportunity for your church to think about the connection between faith and politics. In the post-election period CARE could provide an analysis of the results, talk through the immediate outcomes and explore the implications. Contact our supporter relations team for more information or to invite someone from CARE to come and speak at your church. Phone: 020 7233 0455 Email: email@example.com
CARE / 53 Romney Street / London SW1P 3RF Tel 020 7233 0455 firstname.lastname@example.org www.care.org.uk Executive Chairman: Lyndon Bowring Chief Executive: Nola Leach Charity no. 1066963 Scottish Charity SC038911