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Corbyn: Labour can learn lessons from faith groups' unity

Jeremy Corbyn told a church service of Labour delegates on Sunday the party can learn lessons from faith groups as they look to unite.

Hours after winning a landslide victory to be re-elected leader with an increased majority of 62 per cent, Corbyn addressed a congregation at St James in the City, Liverpool, on Sunday morning. With unity on the minds of Labour members and MPs, he emphasised the importance of community and faith, noting that the Labour Party's origins owe much to people of faith putting their values into practice.

Remarking on how well faith groups work with each other in his own constituency, Mr Corbyn argued that "bringing faith communities together is important and we need to draw political lessons from this." He said it was imperative the Labour party united to fight for social justice.

Mr Corbyn also also thanked faith groups, and particularly church groups in this instance, for speaking out about the refugee crisis. The service focused on this theme, with Christians on the Left believing it is important that a more passionate and clearly argued case is made for better provision for refugees.

Worshippers heard from Open Doors and Release International about the persecution people are facing and what people can do to help them. Preacher Malcolm Duncan, chair of Spring Harvest, spoke of how everyone is affected when people are persecuted and he highlighted the "waste of human talent" represented by refugees unable to live fulfilled lives.

Jeremy Corbyn echoed this theme in his speech, talking about how lack of opportunities wasted talent to the detriment of all, arguing "Social justice should not be seen as a threat to anybody but as an opportunity for everybody."

Worshippers were encouraged to support Christians on the Left's #patriotspaytax campaign.

The Labour Party traditionally begins the conference week with a church service, bringing together MPs, delegates, and local church members. The service is organised by Christians on the Left, the organisation for Christians in the Labour Party.

The venue for the service, a tent in a Grade 2 listed church building undergoing restoration, seemed apt for the political times in which we live. The need for inner renewal has to come first. Politics today certainly needs restoration with a rediscovery of fundamental values together with applications relevant to people today. Focusing on some of the most oppressed in our world, while finding hope in working together to help them, is a good way to begin a Labour Party conference.

This article was first published by Christian Today on 25 September 2016.

Christian Today, 28/09/2016

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