Labour delegates meeting at the party conference in Brighton have been called to “Love thy neighbour”.
That was the message preached at the Labour Party’s conference church service on Sunday morning. Party leader Keir Starmer, spoke to worshippers and talked to delegates and guests after the service had finished, thanking Christians in the party and the church generally for the leadership they showed during the pandemic.
The guest preacher was Natalie Williams, Chief Executive of Jubilee+, an NGO committed to seeing the church in the UK be a champion of the poor and help build healthy communities. Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Cabinet member and chair of Christians on the Left, and Stephen Timms MP also took part in the service, which was organised Christians on the Left.
Keir Starmer said: “The Labour Party church service is for many Labour members an important part of the annual conference week because their Christian faith drives their politics. Labour brings together people of conviction linked by their desire for a society and economy which works for everyone, and where social justice prevails. We saw that social bond in action during the pandemic, and the vital part faith groups play in our country. Thank you to all those taking part, especially the preacher, Natalie Williams, Neighbourhood Prayer Network which is supporting the service, and Christians on the Left for once again organising the event.”
Christians on the Left Chair Jonathan Reynolds MP said: “People’s responses to the pandemic showed the power of community organising to help each other. In almost every community, churches and Christian organisations were at the forefront, organising food banks, deliveries, vaccination drives, and much more. Fighting social injustice in our communities is essential. Fighting it through politics too, for permanent transformation, makes for an awesome combination. But it all starts by loving our neighbour.”
Talking about the theme of her sermon, Natalie Williams, Chief Executive of Jubilee+, said: “As life gets harder for those in our communities who are trapped in poverty or struggling to keep their heads above water, it’s vitally important that Christians take seriously the command to love our neighbours. We worship a God who is merciful, and we’ve been called to be merciful like Him. It’s a privilege, particularly for someone with my background of growing up in relative poverty, to be speaking at the Labour Party Conference Church Service about this wonderful mercy we have received and can bring to those around us.”