Many churches bless their local community by running special services and events at Christmas. This year, the UK election in December brings an opportunity for churches to serve in a different way: by running a hustings.
Hustings are public meetings where people can ask questions and listen directly to the responses of their local candidates. For more than 40 years, churches across the country have worked together to run these popular events.
By running hustings, churches can help overcome the disconnection that many voters feel with politics. People can raise issues that are important to them, and make sure that their political representatives are aware of their priorities. It’s also an opportunity for churches to work together in unity for the good of their local area.
But don't just take our word for it. Here are some of the comments we’ve received from Tearfund supporters following past hustings:
‘It was interesting to hear from the candidates; they each got a set time to speak and then to answer questions. The format was like “Any Questions” on Radio 4. I’d recommend going to a hustings if you can.'
‘The last general election was one of my first elections and so I found the hustings very helpful in thinking about who to vote for. Even though I didn’t ask a question myself, I enjoyed listening to others' questions.’
‘Although the audience did not always like the answers they heard, all the candidates had useful and intelligent comments to make and came across as human beings.’
‘A positive experience and an opportunity to emphasise the importance of engagement by Christians in politics. Overall it was certainly useful and helped me to decide which way to vote.’
Joy, Lincoln, who has previously organised a hustings
how can you get involved?
1) Attend a hustings
Find out if there is a hustings scheduled near you on the Churches Together website (Welsh page here). Go along and encourage others to join you.
If you want to ask a question, spend some time thinking about the wording of this – you may need to submit it in advance. This is a great opportunity to make sure candidates are considering key issues like international aid and climate change. You can find examples of good questions to ask in our article '5 things to do before the election'.
2) RUN A HUSTINGS
Various Christian organisations produce resources to help churches run hustings. You could pass these on to your church or your local Churches Together organisation and encourage them to consider organising a hustings.
If you organise a hustings or have any questions, please email our Campaigns Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. The team would love to support you as you serve your local community.
For more guidance on how to get involved with the election, take a look at our Tearfund Election Guide.
Let’s continue to prayerfully and humbly engage with the election, as we seek to uphold the cause of people living in poverty.