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From your Vicar - Page 1
This month is a significant one for the nation: on 7th May we will be going to the polling station to elect a new government. Sadly there are many people in this country disillusioned with politics and apathetic when it comes to voting. In the 2010 election just 65.1% of the population turned up to vote. This is an enormous under-representation of the nation and a long way from the post-war turnouts of 80% +. With people like Russell Brand actively encouraging people not to vote, it is easy to forget that we are privileged to live in a country whose government is chosen by a peaceful democratic process. Many people across the world have died fighting for democracy and our ancestors in this country struggled for a long time to get to where are today. Our vote is a right, a privilege and a duty; not to be taken lightly but responsibly.
As important as voting in an election is, it is of course just one of the ways we can play our part in creating a difference in the world. God calls each of us to be ‘salt and light’ in the world and to advance the causes of justice, peace, righteousness, to set the oppressed free and stand up for the poor and marginalised. In this country the Government – local and national – have so much influence in all of those areas that it is vital that Christians get involved and help to transform all aspects of society.
There are many areas we can get involved in politics, such as: joining a political party and getting involved with that party; adding your voice to a campaign, by signing an online petition, sending a letter to your MP or supporting the work of a charity; starting a campaign; praying for your local representatives; meeting your MP or local councillors. At St John’s that is currently very easy is you live in Leytonstone because we host Councillor Surgeries in our hall every Saturday and the Ward Forum also meets in the hall. If you have never attended one of these, perhaps you could make an effort to do so?
St John the Baptist
Serving God and the Community of Leytonstone for 180 years
From your Vicar - Page 2
In addition to all these ways of getting involved, it is worth mentioning the many other important ways we can help to create a more just society, such as simply looking out for our neighbours on the street and being mindful of concerns in the community. On a wider scale, supporting things like Fairtrade and ensuring your money is spent and saved as ethically as possible. In the words of the author/campaigner Anna Lappé, “everytime you spend your money you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”
As Christians let’s endeavour to be salt and light in the world in any way we can and remember to pray for our community, our country and our leaders.
From your Vicar - Page 3