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15 May 2015

Think Friday 19 - what sort of nation?

In the week since the general election results we have witnessed resignations, re-shuffles and leadership contests. As our leaders cast their visions in light of electoral failures or successes, the question of what kind of nation(s) we aspire to create becomes more and more central.

There are reportedly plans to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights. A Northern Ireland Bill of Rights has been talked about for many years but what values should underpin these Bills? And who decides? What impact could this all have on settlements like the Good Friday Agreement, the protection of human dignity and the most vulnerable in our community?

It is also a week until the Republic of Ireland holds it's referendum on whether to change their constitutional definition of marriage to become gender-neutral. The legal redefinition of marriage and by extension family raises important questions for the Church and wider culture for generations to come. The question of space and freedom to maintain a different definition of marriage will emerge again next week when we expect to receive the Ashers judgement.

Governments and leaders may change, Constitutions and legal rights may change, words and values may change. Reflecting on the times around us and the emerging culture we felt compelled to return again to the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 2. We take seriously our responsibility to pray for our leaders, to hold to 'God our Saviour' and 'the knowledge of the truth' which does not change and to lead change through 'peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.'