Presbyterian Leader Urges Respect between Church, Society

LONDON – The moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Wales has called for better understanding between churches and society in an age of recession and terrorist threats.

In his Easter message, the Rev. Haydn Thomas urged believers to share the message of the Gospel with others regardless of the response.

"We, the members of Jesus' church, must have conviction in our faith and creed so that we can convince those around us," he said.

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"We will be ignored by many but that is no excuse not to share our beliefs with others. I believe that thousands of people seek salvation, peace of mind and conciliation.

"This is particularly true during this time of economic difficulty, which has caused hardship for many families and which has led us to question the morality of the market and the present economic system."

Thomas urged society to respect the place and work of the church "even though every part of society may not be ready to receive our message."

"Faith communities contribute more than £100m (over $147 million) worth of voluntary services to the Welsh economy annually, not to mention offering spiritual nourishment and community to tens of thousands of people," he noted. "I hope that we all can see that churches of all kinds offer something valuable to Wales today."

He also called for religious tolerance and respect for beliefs in the face of threats from religious extremists.

Turning his attention to former churchgoers, Thomas said urged them to "come back."

"The church wants your talents, your abilities and your vision," he said. "If you are critical of the church and its work, come back and share your vision on how to make our mission more effective."

Easter, he said, was an opportunity to declare the Gospel with conviction and win the respect of society.

"It is evident that the world is thirsty for love, justice and peace. Let us not disappoint it," he said.

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