Birmingham’s Bishop Jon Jackson: ‘We will Vote’


The normally quietly spoken Bishop Jackson from the New Testament Church of God in Birmingham, got angry. In a sermon that was to kick start Black-led churches encouraging their congregations to register to vote Bishop Jackson said:

If 50 black young men stood in front of us today, data shows that half of them would be out of a job. The majority of the other half would be in low paid jobs, perhaps stacking shelves.To add insult to injury we get politicians coming here to this Church saying how wonderful we are, how passionate we are, and then doing nothing.

This situation, he forcefully told the 500-plus congregation,

has to stop. Don’t come here, to tell us how passionate and spiritual we are, we know that, we feel that. Tell us how our national government will give us the opportunity to work in a decent job, or get a decent education.

The electricity Bishop Jackson generated was palpable. This was just the start that the voter registration campaign led by the Black churches and Operation Black Vote needed. One of the prime movers in this campaign Bishop Joe Aldred, spoke first and outlined how the Black churches would no longer be a ‘sleeping political giant’. ‘ Our scriptures call upon the churches to be true to its calling to be 'salt, light and leaven in the world'. That’s why we must engage and demand justice’.

The night before that historical launch, Black church leaders from several churches met to discuss strategy. And it was agreed that participating churches would have a dedicated individual who would administer voter registration and basic political education within the church.

The aim is to mobilise a million Black people from the Churches, universities, NGO’s other faith groups to have the strongest political voice in the run up to the 2015 General Elections.

If your church, faith group or community centre would like to be involved, please contact Francine Fernandes

Simon Woolley