Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Preparing for the State Election as a Christian community.

The coming State election (scheduled for November) provides a fantastic opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation with our politicians. Members of Parliament and candidates for election are never more keen to talk to the electorate than when there is an election coming. So now is the time to be planning.

The Social Justice Network is preparing a list of practical ideas for churches to provide opportunities for their members to interact with candidates about issues that are important to them not only as citizens but also as Christians. These ideas (E.g. “A meet the candidates forum” conducted by local churches) will be posted over the next month on the Social Justice page on the Conference website The aim is not to take political sides but to help Christians be well informed of what candidates are about and to reflect on issues with Christian values in mind as well as letting candidates hear what church people think.

Each of these suggestions will need to be handled thoughtfully and in a way that helps your members to look at issues in a way non partisan to any particular political party or candidate.

  • Establish a small group to set up a “Meet the Candidates” event. It is often best to do this in co-operation with other churches in your area.
  • Have a panel discussion with articulate members of your congregation sharing what for them are significant issues for Christians when it comes to elections.
  • Invite church members to identify issues that they would like raise with the various candidates standing in your electorate. Arrange for a small delegation of 2 or 3 people to set up a time with each of the candidates to discuss these issues and then do a brief written report which can be made available to your membership.
  • Try to identify the issues that you consider to be important for Christians and the church at this time and make your congregation aware of these. Don’t take sides on these issues – just invite your congregation to think, pray and research about these issues before voting. Make sure your list covers issues of justice and compassion and is not just what is only in your membership’s own interests.
  • Be creative in coming up with your own ideas about how to help your church grapple with issues from a Biblical and compassionate Christian perspective.
  • Make sure that you do not take or appear in any way to take sides or support any one side. Concentrate on raising issues and seeking answers and let your people do the deciding with their vote.
  • Publish in your newsletter the websites where your members can read the policies of each of the Parties and candidates.