Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Independent’

I received my voting card for 15th November’s elections for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner in the post a couple of weeks ago. Until last week, the only opinion I have had about this election is that using the acronym PCC for this new job will confuse both Anglicans and anyone who followed the Leveson inquiry.

Since we don’t watch local news on telly and don’t regularly get a local paper, we have had no idea about who is standing or what the job entails. So in my quest to have an informed vote, I duly googled and found a BBC website which gave me the lowdown on the candidates (there is also a national site that will enable you to see candidates).

There is the usual collection of political candidates and three independents, but the person who stood out for me is one of the independents. Derek Webley is a local guy (he’s based just up the road from our parish), who has excellent relevant experience (having already led the West Midlands Police Board – the first independent to do so) and he is a Christian. I don’t want to see policing politicised and a win for Derek Webley would keep policing out of party hands but not deliver it to someone inexperienced and unsuitable. I wonder if people’s dissatisfaction with politicians at the moment will deliver us any independent Police and Crime Commissioners, though? Or are we so stuck with the political system, with its teams of leafleting volunteers, that independents have no chance? I shall be encouraging people to vote, as usual, but I’m a little despairing about the outcome.

 

Read Full Post »

In today’s Independent, Mary Ann Sieghart, who is not a Christian believer, eloquently defends the Church of England against recent attacks from Richard Dawkins, who appears to think that the church is a worthless and even malign institution.

One of Ms Sieghart’s reasons for that defence chimed strongly with me:

Social workers, teachers and doctors may commute into impoverished areas, but the vicar is often the only professional still living in the parish he or she serves. You don’t get more in touch than that.

Inner city vicars see it all

I am sometimes intensely frustrated as local friends deal with professionals who come into our parish to run things and advise people on their lives. Once you live outside an area it is very difficult to truly know the people who live there. The parish system of the Church of England is one of its true strengths.

Vicars know their parishes better than many social workers, councillors and politicians know their patch. Their houses are not open to callers, they are not mingling with local folk at multiple weekly events attended by the young, the old and the needy. Knowing people is about more than hearing their problems at a surgery or dealing with them in a professional capacity. It’s about being with them, drinking coffee and eating cake, weeping with them and just hanging out.

Christians in churches other than the CofE are also serving in the inner city and deprived urban areas – for example, Mez McConnell is pastor of a church on a housing scheme in Niddrie, the most deprived housing estate in Edinburgh.

I wonder how many of Richard Dawkins’ atheist pals have chosen to live in an inner city area to make a difference? How many of them are visiting the elderly and running youth clubs? God’s love motivates us to serve the folk in our parish and to live in an area that most people would be unlikely to choose as ‘desirable’. What motivates Richard Dawkins I wonder?

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: