THE Bishop of Portsmouth has called on councillors to stamp out petty politics and get on with the job at hand.
Delivering his sermon at the city’s annual service at Portsmouth Cathedral, Right Reverend Christopher Foster urged members to show unity as times in local government become harder.
If we can soften our hearts and drop our differences for this hour, let us repeat that for the rest of the year, losing also our prejudices, pettiness, fears and self-justification.The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster
And the newly-appointed Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller, has pledged to bring more ‘respect’ to council meetings.
Mr Foster said: ‘If we can soften our hearts and drop our differences for this hour, let us repeat that for the rest of the year, losing also our prejudices, pettiness, fears and self-justification.’
But Mr Foster admitted it was ‘not easy times’ for local government – and said it was important now more than ever to adopt a ‘clearer moral compass’.
Cllr Fuller, at the end of his first week as the city’s mayor, said: ‘I’m very proud.
‘It’s one of the biggest things for the city to celebrate.
‘It’s a chance to recognise the volunteers and the people that work in this city.
‘Unity and respect are things I want to try and bring into council meetings. I want to help bring people together whatever parties they are from and represent. We should always respect each other.’
The service began with a civic procession with city leaders and included readings from Cllr Fuller and the leader of the council, Cllr Donna Jones.
Cllr Jones said: ‘We have four or five special services each other, and this is one of them.
‘We have the civic procession around the streets of Old Portsmouth, before coming together for a service led by the Bishop of Portsmouth, who recognised what an arduous task it is to take on the responsibility of public life.’