CHRISTIAN COMMENT Don’t knock the politicians

I am amazed and delighted at our local politicians. I do confess that in the past, I have been less than enthusiastic about politics, specially at a local level. But I have changed my mind and am glad to own up to my mistake.

What has happened?

Because of my work as chair of the trustees of the Worthing-based Acorn Pregnancy Counselling Centre, I have had the opportunity to meet the last three Mayors of Worthing, Noel Atkins, Anne Sayers and now Ann Barlow.

My connection with Ann Barlow goes back at least ten years. She and her family come to Hosanna church in Broadwater where my wife and I also go. This has given me the chance to see how much of her spare time Ann has put in over the years on local council business.

This Year Ann selected Acorn Pregnancy Counseling as one of the Mayor’s Charities. As a result, I have had the opportunity get a close glimpse of the immense amount of work that a Mayor puts into the Year of Office.

First there is the pure physical effort of attending several events in a day, most days of the week. In addition there are speeches to be made and sometimes battles to be won in committee! Thank You Ann!

As chair of Acorn I have also had the pleasure of meeting Tim Loughton, one of Worthing’s MPs. In October he came to visit our office in Warwick St and to hear about what we seek to do for the needy in our community. Here was a busy man, the Minister for children and youth, fitting in an hour or so en route from Chichester to Lancing. He was attentive, fun, astute and with a great memory for detail. I couldn’t help but be grateful for someone so committed to working for the public good.

The media do us a disservice when they highlight the mistakes of our politicians. As they won’t praise them I would like to use this column congratulate them and to say thank you and well done.

But I must not end with that. I want to urge us all to pray regularly for our MPs, for our local councillors and also for the paid staff, the civil servants. Their commitment and thoroughness affects how our local authority, our county and our country is run.

For Christians, the Bible states quite clearly, in one of St Paul’s two letters to his young disciple Timothy, that we should pray and give thanks to God for ‘Kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives…..’

We all will know that William Wilberforce led a long, long campaign for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Many may not know that before he got involved in that campaign, Wilberforce was converted from just a nominal allegiance to churchgoing to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. His ‘conversion’ made him think seriously of escaping from the dirty world of C18th politics. But friends persuaded him to stay and work for integrity and honesty in politics. As a result God blessed his commitment and hard work. Slavery was abolished and much other good done.

Thank you again to all who work hard and honestly in the political field. May God Bless you and all that you do for our communities.

By Rob Ferguson. Rob retired as GP in Lancing in 2005. He continues to live in Broadwater with his wife. He has two grown up children and two grandchildren.