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Archbishops urge voters to ask questions about 'type of country we want to be'

by Donna Birrell

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said  the General Election is an opportunity for people to ask important questions about the type of country we want to be.

Just after the Prime Minister announced the election would be on July 4, Most Rev Justin Welby and Most Rev Stephen Cottrell released a statement encouraging "grace and integrity" throughout the campaign:

“The coming General Election is a critical moment in the life of our nation, which will shape our future by electing those who will make decisions affecting generations to come.

“It is a time for us all – people of all faiths and of none - to ask important questions about what kind of country we want to be.

“We are facing epic challenges both in our country and our world: from questions of war and peace, to poverty and injustice and very future of the Earth God has given us.

“Faced with such huge questions, our instinct as Christians is to turn to God in prayer and so we want to put prayer at the very heart of this campaign.

“We are therefore inviting everyone who is willing to dedicate the next few weeks as a time not just to think about the big questions but to pray for our nation and our world. "And we want to invite everyone to think about how we all can play our part both as voters and, more broadly, as citizens.

“We would add a plea that no matter how big the issues as stake over the next few weeks, this will be a time marked by respect for one another, for good grace and a commitment to truth and integrity.

“It is our prayer that, even in the heat of the debate, we will treat each other with respect and kindness.

“And we give thanks for the dedication of all who stand for public office in service of our communities – often at great personal cost - and those who support the process.”

The Archbishop of Wales, Most Rev Andrew John has urged people to show respect and civility in the election campaign.

In a statement, he also called for the poorest and most marginalised people to be prioritised, a call echoed by the United Reformed Church (URC).

At its 2023 General Assembly, the URC made a resolution that “calls upon political leaders to make a commitment towards the eradication of structural poverty in the UK”.

It has encouraged churches and church members to raise these issues with candidates in the lead-up to the next General Election”.

The Church of England has launched a campaign known as #PrayYourPart – to promote prayer and participation in the life of our nation and communities, both as voters and as citizens.

A series of daily thematic reflections written by bishops, drawn from the Bible and exploring major themes will be published shortly, covering the final three weeks up to polling day.

They will be available as a booklet, in audio form for smart speakers, as free opt-in emails and through social media.


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