Bewildered by Brexit? Church of England opens its doors for prayer

Everyone is invited to the Church of England to discuss Brexit

Brexit has become better known for dividing the nation rather than unifying it, but in an effort to change that, churches are being encouraged to get people from across the political spectrum talking - and praying - about the future of their communities and the nation.

The Church of England is inviting communities to come to informal cafe-style meetings to discuss Brexit on the weekend of March 30 - which is supposed to mark the start of the UK's new journey out of the European Union. 

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have got behind the meetings, which are being accompanied by new resources inviting people to 'get together and chat over a cup of tea and pray for our country and our future'. 

The resources include some questions that can be used as discussion starters, such as whether people have found it possible to 'disagree well' with friends and family over Brexit or what things they think Brits have in common that can be built upon for a better future as a community and as a nation. 

In addition to discussion starters, the resource packs include Bible passages, specially written prayers, and some tips for hosting open discussions that encompass a wide range of viewpoints. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said that Brexit was an opportunity for the Church to act with integrity and unite together in prayer for the nation. 

'As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to demonstrate that love for God and for each other, along with compassion, solidarity and care for the poorest, are our defining values,' he said.

'These values have been the bedrock of our national life for many centuries. They are not simply our history: they are also our best hope for the future.

'For this reason, a century from now the Church will be remembered for how it responded at this crucial moment in the life of our nation and country. Will we be those who worked to defuse tension and hostility? Will we be those who called for civility and respect in how we speak about, and treat, each other?

'Will we be those who never stopped praying with urgency and hope for our country, our communities and our political leaders – and for a way forward that allows every person, family and community to flourish?'

'This is an opportunity for the Church of England to join together in prayer for God's kingdom to come, and for the good of all in society. I hope that each of us will take hold of these resources to help us pray for our country at this critical time.'

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu drew inspiration from the words of the Apostle Paul as he encouraged the Church to pray without ceasing.

'St Paul advises and urges Timothy to 'offer petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for sovereigns, and for all in high office so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life, free to practice our religion with dignity,' he said.

'Such prayer is right, and approved by God our Saviour, whose will it is that all should find salvation and come to know the truth...' (1 Timothy 2:2 ff). Beloved in Christ, let us also pray without ceasing.'

The resources can be downloaded from churchofengland.org/together

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