CAROLINE ANSELL MP: A very happy Easter to you all
Firstly, a very happy Easter to everyone!
Earlier this week saw an excellent debate in Parliament on the persecution of Christians by ISIS.
There are some truly horrendous atrocities committed by this murderous cult across the Middle East, and whilst ISIS are largely indiscriminate about who suffers, at Easter, my heart particularly goes out to Christians, the world over, who suffer for their faith.
And this same week our thoughts and prayers must be with the families of those affected by the terrible events in Brussels this week.
Just a regular morning rush hour saw the end of at least 30 innocent lives. The freedom, democracy and culture that we have is everything ISIS would deny us. We cannot, we must not, allow that to happen.
That very freedom was my first thought when I was honoured, earlier this year, to speak at our now annual day of prayer in Eastbourne.
This very special occasion, brought together Christians from across the town, denominations and churches, to lift in prayer all vital services and organisations the town - the DGH, the police, those in authority locally and nationally, our schools, the businesses - and each other; all the people who make up this wonderful place to live.
Part of the strength of our society is in the service of volunteers and this Eastertide, at the risk of omission, I pay tribute to local groups, putting faith in action here in Eastbourne. The Night Shelter during the winter months, helping the homeless; the Foodbank; groups that support the lonely, the elderly, the vulnerable, the abused, those in debt; Street Pastors; groups for mums, dads, children - the list is almost endless.
I love Easter - bringing as it does new life, warmth and colour after darker days of winter. In younger years with my boys it also meant the Eggpress at The Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway and feeding the lambs at the Sheep Centre in East Dean.
Happy memories. But for me, Easter is above all the greatest love story ever told of the greatest life ever lived.
My political DNA has many stands. The NHS saved my life’s son. As a teacher, I am passionate about education and its ability to transform lives and my faith is part of the mix.
Each Parliamentary day starts with this prayer, and has done so for 500 years:
“May they never lead the nation wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals but laying aside all private interests and prejudices, keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all mankind.”
All the time I am your MP - I will seek to live this out. Recent decisions in Parliament have caused some to question but anyone who truly knows me and my passion to see all prosper, will know this to be true.
I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a truly wonderful and peaceful Easter.