COLUMN: View from the Legislature – MLAs offered support and prayer
The role of elected officials, like all occupations, has its unique pressures, challenges, and rewards. Because of the nature of the job and the laws regarding cabinet confidence in our model of government, it is difficult for some elected officials to receive personal support for the burden they sometimes carry. The toll of this is demonstrated in the high percentage of broken families and relationships related to public life.
I have always considered myself very fortunate during my time in elected office to have consistently received support from many local residents that has taken the form of a kind remark, gesture, or often through prayer. The number of people over the years who have indicated to myself or a member of my family that we are prayed for is incredible and it has been appreciated beyond words.
Perhaps because not all elected officials benefit from this support, some organizations have been established across Canada who are dedicated to offering prayer and counsel for elected officials both federally and provincially regardless of political party affiliation. The members of these organizations regularly meet with elected officials, pray for them and offer personal support not in the hopes of influencing policy, but rather as a demonstration of faith and love.
Some of the organizations will pay frequent visits to the offices of legislators and often they can be found in the spectators’ gallery in Parliament or provincially watching and praying for elected officials. One of these organizations is called Leading Influence. They are a non-partisan organization that relies upon charitable giving. They offer spiritual care in a confidential manner to elected officials across Canada including here in Manitoba. They also post on social media encouraging people to pray for MLAs from their constituency and around the province.
The goal of Leading Influence is simply to pray for those in authority and engage with elected officials as people as opposed to engaging in politics.
This past Tuesday morning they hosted an MLA Prayer Breakfast at the Manitoba Legislature. Faith leaders from Winnipeg and around Manitoba came and joined the event. While annual prayer breakfast meetings are common in Ottawa and Washington and many provincial legislators, this is the first such event that I can recall happening in the Manitoba Legislature since I was elected nearly 20 years ago.
Renee Coleman, who organized the event and is the Manitoba spiritual care provider for Leading Influence, has emphasized that support is offered to all elected officials simply because of the difficult job that they perform, not because of any political party they represent.
Encouragement is a gift that is free to give and often invaluable to the person who receives it. Regardless of one’s faith or occupation, the demonstration of support and encouragement is one worth replicating in today’s world.
I appreciate your comments and concerns. If you have any comments on these or other issues, you can contact me by writing, C2-275 Main Street, Steinbach, MB R5G 1Y9, by phone at (204) 326-5763 by e-mail at email@example.com or by visiting my website at www.kelvingoertzen.com. I look forward to hearing from you.