While some people have no problem slagging politicians like it’s a sport, one group is praying for every single MLA in B.C.
On Twitter. In alphabetical order. Every Monday to Friday.
They tweet out things like, “Father, thank you for Rachna Singh and the experience she brings to the table in her Surrey Green Timbers district, especially advocacy in Trade Unions. Please continue to use her strengths, background and courage as she serves her constituents. Thank you for her fresh perspective – we pray You will walk with her as she stands for the freedoms we hold dear in British Columbia. Please bless her family.”
That was tweeted out from the Twitter account PrayBC in support of the B.C. NDP MLA on Feb. 16.
On Feb. 19, this was tweeted for Liberal MLA for Parksville-Qualicum:
“Praying for peace, hope and love for MLA Michelle Stilwell. Give her the strength and passion to continue serving our province. May she feel the strength of You Lord – lift her up in each moment that she may feel tired. We ask for protection, love and abundance in her family life. We ask for all of this in Jesus name – Amen.”
MLA Michelle Stilwell, Parksville- Qualicum via PrayBC: Praying for peace, hope and love for MLA Michelle Stilwell. Give her the strength and passion to continue serving our province. May she feel the strength … #bcpoli #pray https://t.co/T23XfXYHVS
— PrayBC (@praybc) February 19, 2018
PrayBC is part of a non-denominational, non-partisan Canadian charity called Leading Influence Ministries. It describes itself on its Twitter account (which has 131 followers) as “a resource for anyone who wants to pray for elected leaders in BC.”
Over and above offering these daily prayers and encouraging others to take up the prayer, Leading Influence provides volunteer chaplaincy services to provincial politicians in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and now in Ontario.
Founded by ordained minister from Victoria Tim Schindel, Leading Influence has no political agenda, looks to serve members of all political parties (provided those members want their support), and seek no official designation or status.
“We’re not lobbying for anything, we’re not running petitions,” said Schindel from Ontario where he’s working at expanding Leading Influence Ministries into the Ontario legislative building in Toronto. He added that the service runs through donations, and receives no government funding.
His drive for offering these services comes from the understanding that being a politician “is very challenging, it’s very difficult, it’s very thankless,” he said.
“I heard a member say this one time — on a very good day, 40 per cent of people like what you do.”
Their support comes from starting friendly relationships with politicians who are open to them, he said.
“Over the course of the 11 years that we’ve been doing this, I’ve talked with people through marriage break-ups, I’ve talked with people through personal political… crises that they’re going through. They got demoted or they got passed over for cabinet… they were a rising star and then became a falling star.
Though Schindel said he believes “in the wisdom and insight of Jesus Christ,” it’s rare that he ever quotes scripture, and only when a person he’s speaking with shares his belief.
“We’re just there to support people,” he said, “because at the end of the day, politicians are people just like you and me.”
For her part, Stilwell said she met Schindel when she was first elected, “and (I) have become good friends with him and his wife.”
Jason Goertzen is now the Leading Influence member at the B.C. legislature.
“MLAs know he is around and available,” said Stilwell. “Some meet with him regularly and privately. Others choose not to engage. It’s completely relaxed with no pressure or expectations.”
As for the prayers, Stilwell said, “I like that there is a group of people sending their positive wishes on my behalf.”
For information: www.leadinginfluence.com.