Tuesday, 12 January 2010

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If you remember from our sermon series 'the Chronicles of Reading' I encouraged all of us to be engaged in politics as some level. Today we need to follow the encouragment of Dave Stroud and get involved:

Threat to Churches' Employment Freedom

Dear Friends, You may be aware of the Equality Bill, which is currently under consideration in Parliament and is to be voted on in the House of Lords this coming Thursday (14 January). Whilst there is much in the Bill that is good; promoting justice and opposing discrimination, key elements of it could prove detrimental to churches and religious organisations.

In its current form, the Bill would prevent faith-based organisations discriminating against job applicants whose sexual lifestyle choices are contrary to religious teaching. As such, it would be unlawful for churches to refuse to employ staff whose sexuality or sexual conduct stands in opposition to the church's doctrine.

The few exceptions are in the case of jobs 'wholly or mainly' concerned with promoting or explaining doctrine. A number of key positions within our churches, for example youth workers, student workers, administrators and even many church elders, would not be covered by this exception.

Could I urge you to give this some attention, and to alert your churches to the details of this Bill. A petition has been opened calling the government to remove the compromising paragraphs in the Bill, and can be found here.

Would you consider encouraging your church members to sign the petition and to write to a member of the House of Lords, expressing their concerns. Details for how to write to a member of the House of Lords can be found below.

Please pray for members of the House of Lords, and the Christians who have the opportunity to partake in this debate. Pray that God would grant them wisdom as they seek to influence the government on this crucial issue.

With love in Christ, Dave Stroud (On behalf of the newfrontiers UK team)

Further details about the Bill are available from Care and The Lawyers Christian Fellowship. If you have a personal link with a member of the House of Lords, do write to them directly to express concern about the Bill. A list of Peers and their contact addresses can be found here Alternatively, you could contact one of the following members of the House of Lords:

Lord Carrington
Baroness Neuberger
Lord Sacks
Lord Wilson
Lord Pannick
Lord Ballyedmond
Baroness Falkner
Lord Brookman
Lord Ahmed
Lord Brennan
Baroness Williams
Lord Harris
Lord Rotherwick
Lord Steinberg

Write to them at: House of Lords,London, SW1A 0PW

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