Hustings and Engagement Guide


The past 2 years have been hugely challenging for many of us across the UK. With the ebb and flow of lockdowns and a huge amount of time spent in virtual spaces rather than physical spaces, churches have had to adapt and change in all sorts of unanticipated ways.

However, irrespective of the obstacles we have had to negotiate, the church has remained active and visible, and we now have another important role to play in serving our local communities in the run up to the May elections in Northern Ireland.

Often at the time of an election there is a vast overload of information. Hustings provide an opportunity to cut to the chase and find out what candidates’ priorities would be if elected and what they really think about what matters to us.

What is a hustings?

A hustings is simply a meeting at which candidates in an election address potential voters. It might be easier to think of a hustings as a ‘Question Time’ event, akin to the BBC programme. It is a fantastic opportunity for voters to meet and question candidates about a wide range of issues and hear them talk about their values, why they want to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and what they seek to do if elected. Of course, this year some hustings may take place online, which provides a unique opportunity to improve the reach of your event.

Why hold a hustings?

It is a great opportunity for the local church to serve the community, providing people with the chance to put specific questions to all the candidates at the same time, comparing and contrasting their answers.

A church hustings provides a simple forum in which to raise issues of particular concern to Christians which candidates might not otherwise be asked about.

It gives people the time to consider candidates as individuals and assess their personal strengths and weaknesses first-hand as well as connecting people to the political process.

A hustings also creates an opportunity for local churches to begin to build relationships with those who will be elected to represent them.

Church hustings send an important message – even before any questions have been asked – by reminding aspiring politicians that the church is not irrelevant but, as a key part of civil society, is deserving of respect.

Plus, candidates often welcome the chance to communicate with their potential constituents.

If you would more information about running a Hustings event please click here for our complete hustings and engagement guide.