CHURCHES have an “invaluable” role to play in society, the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said on Sunday.
Mr Corbyn was speaking during a church service organised by Christians on the Left at One Church, Brighton, at the start of Labour’s conference. The service marked Freedom Sunday, a global church campaign against modern slavery and human trafficking.
Mr Corbyn said of faith communities and faith organisations: “They play a key role in welcoming refugees — helping them to settle in our country and rebuild their lives — as well as advocating for their rights and in favour of inclusion and solidarity, not exclusion and division.”
He continued: “The work that Christians and all church and faith communities across the UK do is invaluable to so many.
“The way in which you stand against injustice in all its forms, and support the poor and the needy, represents the very best of the Christian faith.”
Other speakers at the service included Marsha de Cordova, the Labour MP for Battersea, and the chair of Christians on the Left, Jonathan Reynolds, who represents Stalybridge and Hyde.
Mr Corbyn said: “Isaiah 1.17 reads ‘Seek justice. Defend the oppressed.’ This message is close to my heart as leader of the Labour Party, and any Labour government that I lead will have global justice at its heart and we will seek justice for all and defend the oppressed at home and abroad — be they refugees, victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, or those living in poverty. . .
“I thank Christian and other faith communities and faith organisations for the work they do in our communities supporting the vulnerable and oppressed, and my message to you is that the values of solidarity, loving our neighbours, unity in our communities and seeking justice at home and abroad are the values that we hold dear in the Labour Party and will continue to do so.”
He also praised the former Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, for speaking out on language used to describe refugees, and said that he expected “our good friend” Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who will be the next Bishop of Dover, to do the same in the future.