The Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, has announced he will chair a hustings event for the political constituency of South Thanet, organised by local Anglican churches.
The public meeting will take place from 7pm on Friday 24 April at St George’s Church of England Foundation School in Broadstairs. Candidates from the main seven political parties have been invited to attend.
The announcement follows a pastoral letter issued nationally by the Bishops of the Church of England, including Bishop Trevor, in which they call on political parties to discern “a fresh moral vision of the kind of country we want to be”, ahead of the General Election in May.
Bishop Trevor commented: “The hustings in South Thanet will provide an opportunity for the candidates to set out their visions for the constituency and for the country, as well as offering a chance for voters to quiz them.”
One of the signatories of the pastoral letter, Bishop Trevor, continued; “I believe it is hugely important that Christians and non-Christians to engage in the political process and to use their vote to build a society that provides better opportunities for all.”
Defending the Church of England’s involvement in politics, Bishop Trevor commented: “Churches are embedded in local communities and contribute to the welfare of society. Anglicans do not have a single view about which political party has the best solutions to society’s problems, but Christians do believe in contributing to discussions that may result in a society which many people say they want, but which is not yet being expressed in the vision of any of the parties.”
Bishop Trevor added that he anticipated those attending the hustings would ask searching questions of all the candidates: “I hope voters will ask questions about the distribution of wealth, the treatment of people unable to care for themselves and how political parties can support a common good for society rather than simply serving those with self-interest.”
The hustings are open to all (on a first come, first seated basis – the event is expected to be popular, doors open at 6.30pm). Questions should be emailed in advance to email@example.com although there will also be an opportunity for questions on the day.
Information for editors:
The Church of England Bishop’s pastoral letter for the 2015 General Elections can be found at: https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2015/02/house-of-bishops’-pastoral-letter-on-the-2015-general-election.aspx
St George’s Foundation Church of England School is situated in Westwood Road, Broadstairs, Kent CT10 2LH
Further information from: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446, firstname.lastname@example.org