Images of loud speaker, ballot card, vote sign and quote by John Wesley "Vote without fee or reward for the person you judge most worthy"

North East Mayoral Combined Authority Election

Politics – love it or loathe it, politics influences all our lives and how we live in community with each other. Jesus taught us to love one another and to take care of those in need. He also challenged the authorities about their actions and demonstrated an alternative way of living – that can all come under the banner of politics!  

As Christians we have a responsibility to be aware of and participate in the organisation and decision making of society on whatever level is right for us.  Some may be called to serve in local or national government, some will build relationships with those who have the power to improve lives, others might protest or get involved in shaping policy, while others act by exercising their democratic right to vote for those who will be in leadership. 

This year sees the creation of the North East Mayoral Combined authority covering all seven local authorities within our Methodist district: Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham.  The government has committed £1.4 billion pounds to the North East in the devolution deal which is part of the levelling up fund.  In casting our vote on 2nd May, every registered voter in the NE has the power to influence spending plans as well as the priorities of the new mayor. 

John Wesley gave the following guidance to early Methodists when it came to voting: “vote without fee or reward for the person you judge most worthy”,  so the obvious question is, how do we know who is most worthy?

Over the coming weeks there are a series of hustings and a regional assembly at the Tyne Theatre where we will get the chance to hear directly what each candidate cares about, who they are and how they will lead. 

I would encourage all of us to equip ourselves with as much information as possible ahead of the election, to reflect on the local issues that concern us and to think about the injustices that need righting.  We represent a justice-seeking church, but more than that we represent Jesus.  Jesus who came so that we (all people) might have life and have it abundantly (John 10 v 10b).

Here are the key dates and locations for the mayoral assembly and public hustings:

Monday 22nd April Mayoral Assembly, Tyne Theatre, Newcastle @ 6pm book free tickets here

Thursday 11th April Morpeth Town Hall @ 7.30pm – no booking necessary Hosted by South East Northumberland Rail Users Group

Wednesday 17th April @ 10.30am live stream of the BBC Hustings on TV

Wednesday 17th April Elvet Methodist Church, Durham @ 6.30pm  book free tickets here Hosted by Climate Action Durham

Thursday 18th April The Common Room, Westgate Road, Newcastle @ 4pm  join the waiting list for free tickets here Hosted by the VCSE – Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises

Monday 29th April Gateshead Civic Centre – details to be confirmed Hosted by NPC – National Pensioners Convention

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