Bishop of Huddersfield calls for Church to have greater role in politics

The Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Gibbs
The Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Gibbs
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A LEADING clergyman has called for the Church of England to have a greater involvement in politics.

The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Gibbs, the first ever Bishop of Huddersfield, made the call as he delivered an annual lecture that commemorates his town’s proud association with Harold Wilson – the last Yorkshire-born politician to occupy 10 Downing Street.

His intervention comes weeks after the Church of England was accused of political interference when it published its own pre-election manifesto.

However Dr Gibbs, writing in The Yorkshire Post, says clergy should not be afraid to make a positive case for change because politicians do not always have the right answers to the great issues facing the country.

“Churches must seek to become beacons of hope and communities of people who are learning to live differently and to refuse the culture of fear and suspicion which so characterises much of life today,” he says.

“We need “vision casters”, people who can help envision a new and better way of living which can capture people’s imaginations as well as their hearts.

“The role of the Church in this is two-fold. Firstly, it is to create communities of hope – counter-cultural places which keep on celebrating the possibility that things can be different. And secondly, it is to help the world to see that there is a better way of going about things, and to hear about the hope we have in Christ that enables us to live differently even in a dog-eat-dog world.

“Our politicians need all the help they can get. We should pray for them; we should treat them with respect (well, most of the time anyway) and we should hold them accountable for the kind of world they are trying to sell to us, not least in the run-up to a General Election. But, in the end, politics is far too important to leave to the politicians.”