Black Country: parishioners urged to 'think before you vote'

 Church leaders of different denominations in the Black Country, part of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, are encouraging their parishioners to turn out and vote in the Local Council elections to be held this Thursday 1 May, writes Peter Jennings. Votes are being requested to think carefully about a list of seven questions issued by the Black Country Churches Engaged (BCCE), the ecumenical body that represents the various Christian denominations in the area. Mgr Patrick McKinney, Chair of (BCCE), and Dean of Dudley Deanery, stressed: "As local Church leaders we sincerely hope that people throughout the Black Country will recognise their responsibility as citizens and make an informed choice before they place their cross on the ballot paper. Mgr McKinney added: "Our questions are based on Christian values. We encourage people to consider the views of the various candidates on important issues such as the value they place on human life and also on members of the local community." The Anglican Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Rev Clive Gregory, said: "We are asking people to consider whether the policies of the various candidates feed on fear or whether they promote the rich diversity of cultures living within the community. Do the policies serve to promote good race relations, respecting the culture, language and faith of all?" Chair of the Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury District of the Methodist Church, the Rev John Howard, said: "These elections give people the opportunity to express their views as to the best way forward locally and elect local politicians who bring the community together." For further information see website: Black Country Churches Engaged:

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