Welcome to St John the Baptist Church in Smalley, Derbyshire.

Thought for the Month


In front of me as I write is a Church Times cartoon; it has a young vicar at the nursery door; his wife is lifting their toddler out of her cot, excitedly telling her husband, “Darling, her first words were ‘I don’t do politics’”.

We are going to have a new Government, or a revamped old one. On 8th June we are to have a General Election that no one expected and few wanted. I must not tell you how to vote; but I hope I can tell you that you must vote – if only for the memory of those who won us the right to do so and the millions around the world who never have the chance.

During last year’s debate on Britain’s relationship with Europe the Church’s voice was muted by a mistaken concern to appear even-handed. The Church does not have to be balanced like the BBC is supposed to be – the Church’s founder was far more outspoken that Lord Reith. There are many issues the Church should wish to raise: the over-stretched NHS, the crisis in the social-care sector, an education system beset by ideologies, the acute shortage of affordable housing, the north-south economic divide, the decline of local services; let alone Brexit.

I believe it is the duty of every Christian to draw the political consequences of our faith to the attention of those who seek to represent us. Christians should be among the most active of those who see a functioning democracy as the best hope for the marginalised. Those who want to win our votes need to know where we stand, what we pray for, and that we shall vote accordingly. I believe that is also true of every Jew, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu. Surely we can acknowledge the thoughtful, heartfelt alternatives that offer people a deep-rooted place in the world.

I hope you remember that when you vote, when so many voices are trying to make you frightened of, or at least look down your noses upon, those of other cultures, political parties, philosophies and religious faiths.

Just before an earlier General Election I chaired a big meeting with twelve candidates present; most of the questions were predictably negative or critical; but there was one really positive one: “Once you have been elected, what can we do for you?” That made them think.

The Very Revd Geoffrey Marshall