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Earlier this year the House of Bishops published a letter to the people of the parishes of the Church of England for the General Election 2015 entitled: “Who is my Neighbour?” 

In seeking the common good the bishops have commended to us policies which respect the natural environment, enhance human dignity and honour the image of God in our neighbour. Our own statement about our vision for the diocese speaks of acting in the service of the common good within the communities of Derbyshire and through our engagement with the wider world. Bishop Alastair in his recent publication The Word on the Street invites us to consider the missionary challenge and opportunity of taking full ownership of our democratic responsibility. When our faith and political participation work together to respond to the needs and concerns of our society we offer a vision of a world made new, a new order transformed by the indwelling spirit of Jesus Christ.

As we approach the General Election and consider all the political manifestos being offered, we might ask ourselves the critical question: What does it mean to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God and how does that impact on the way we vote and the choices we make in support of our neighbour and mutual flourishing?

As well as an individual response there is an on- going need for collective action. Our participation in political dialogue needs to continue post-election. Sunday by Sunday as we exchange The Peace with one another we affirm our identity as the Body of Christ and the priest invites us to “pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life”. It is through working together as the Body of Christ, with a commitment to collective action, that we seek after justice, serve our neighbour and act as advocates for the poor and the marginalised. Being sent out “to live and work to God’s praise and glory”, will include activity and a voice in the public space.

This month we will elect a new government. Once the democratic decision is made it will be important for us to continue to engage in mission as we enact the common good through service to our neighbour. We are an incarnational community about the business of making Christ known in the world through lives that seek to bring blessing, 
reconciliation, justice and peace to all. 

It will also be important to uphold our newly elected leadership in prayer.

Archdeacon Christine

Diocese of Derby


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