Christians on the Left participated in the recent ShowUp North event, hosted in Manchester by Christians in Politics.
Zac Bowyer, a sixth form student visiting from South Africa, was at the event and shared some of his thoughts:
"On 12 November 2016 I attended Christians in Politics Show Up North event in Manchester. As a Christian Sixth Form student with an interest in politics, I found the event helpful in showing how Christianity and politics can be integrated. It showed the importance that there are Christians that are not only getting involved in their local churches and charities, but also in local politics.
The conference informed of how politicians take a justice-based approach to their work, with various interesting talks and interviews. For example, there was an insightful interview with Jonathan Reynolds MP. He spoke of how he came to be an MP, and how he incorporates his Christian ethics into politics. Additionally, a video was shown in which Jenny Sinclair, who runs Together for the Common Good, was interviewed.
For me, the highlight of the day was the seminars, where there was a choice between listening to Tanya Burch, and Gareth Wallace & Sarah Dickson. I chose to listen to the inspiring Tanya Burch. The Ukrainian grew up with no other option but to be an atheist in the anti-religious Soviet Union state, but would eventually become a Christian as Communism was removed. She is now Councillor of Salford City Council, where she works for change in the community. Her overall message was that there is no point in complaining, this doesn't change anything. Take frustrations with certain situations you have, and do what you can to change them. It was her passion and excitement for making a difference that was so inspiring.
What I also particularly liked about the conference was that it was a place where various people with different political ideals could meet. Christians in Politics spoke of 'disagreeing well'. This is the idea that Christians need to place biblical identity before political identity. It is good to have passionate views about certain issues, but we can't let this prevent productive interactions and decision-making. After the seminars, there was the opportunity to split into the different groups. I attended the Christians on the Left workshop, while there were workshops for the Conservative Christian Fellowship, Liberal Democrat Christian Forum, and the Youth & Student Engagement Project.
As well as allowing those who attended to be encouraged and informed by talks and interviews, there was much opportunity to network and for those who attended to share ideas through regular discussion. For example, the video in which Jenny Sinclair was interviewed was broken up into several segments. After each segment groups were created and question relating to the video were discussed. To add to this, in both the interview with Jonathan Reynolds and the Christians on the Left workshop, questions were opened up to the floor.
Having never been to an event similar to this before, I didn't really know what to expect. My overall impression was that there are many leaders who are passionate about Christianity and politics, and the Show Up North event acts as a platform for these leaders to meet."