Church of England bishops join to pray for “national unity” in the midst of Brexit debate
UK Anglican leaders released a statement praying for “courage, integrity and clarity for our politicians”. “Reconciliation is central to our future", Justin Welby said in the House of Lords.
Premier, The Guardian · LONDON · 17 DECEMBER 2018 · 15:26 CET
Church of England bishops issued a joint statement on Saturday, saying that “in the light of this week's turbulent events”, they are praying for “national unity, and courage, integrity and clarity for our politicians”.
“We call on the country to consider the nature of our public conversation. It is time to bring grace and generosity back to our national life”, it added.
“BRING RECONCILIATION TO OUR NATIONAL DEBATE”
After a week in which the Prime Minister Theresa May delayed a vote on the EU withdrawal deal and survived a confidence vote, Anglican leaders “urge everyone, our political leaders and all of us, to bring magnanimity, respect and reconciliation to our national debate”.
“There is now an urgent need for the United Kingdom to recover a shared vision and identity to help us find a way through the immediate challenges”.
“LOVE OUR NEIGHBOUR AT HOME, IN EUROPE AND FURTHER AFIELD”
The statement stressed that “at the heart of the Christian message is Jesus' command to love our neighbour. This includes those with whom we agree and disagree, at home, in Europe, and further afield”.
“Regardless of what happens next with Brexit, the Church of England, alongside many other churches and other agencies striving for the common good, will be at the heart of local communities; educating one million children, providing 33,000 social action projects and running 16,000 churches across the country”, it said.
“CHRIST WILL SHOW US ALL THE WAY OF HOPE”
Above all else, the Church of England “will continue to support the most vulnerable and share Christ's love with all”.
“This is the Advent season. As we reflect and await Christmas in joyful anticipation, we have faith in Christ to show us all the way of hope”, they concluded.
WELBY: “RECONCILIATION IS CENTRAL TO OUR FUTURE”
The statement echoed concerns raised by the Archbishop of Canterbury during his talk in the House of Lords on Friday, at the start of a debate on the role of reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy.
He emphasised that reconciliation was “central to our future”, after a “deep division” over Brexit.
“Reconciliation will be something that, although applied to foreign policy in this debate, must become central to our future in this country”, Justin Welby said.
JOINT RECONCILIATION UNIT
According to the Archbishop, “reconciliation is needed before, during and after conflict [...] it happens from the top of society down, from the bottom of society up and from the middle of society out. It must include women, youth and minorities. If any group is left out, peace is not sustainable”.
Welby proposed a “joined-up approach to reconciliation, straddling humanitarian, economic, social, ethic, cultural, political, spiritual and religious factors in which different departments of Government work together under the umbrella of a joint reconciliation unit”.