Put your Brexit differences aside and pray together for the nation, says Archbishop of Canterbury

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The Archbishop of Canterbury is inviting people to put aside their differences over Brexit and come together in prayer this Pentecost.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said it was time for the nation to "put aside our rifts" and instead pray about the future of the country. 

In a wideranging article for the Evening Standard ahead of Pentecost Sunday, he said that people were rightly concerned by Brexit and other issues affecting society, like crime, mental health and inequality. 

However, he said it was God who had the power to break down barriers and give people the ability to endure whatever they were facing in life.

"We are compelled with our occupation for those among us who continue to fall through the seemingly widening gaps between rich and poor within the same borough, for those of us who know the crippling immobility of debt, the bind and double bind of the epidemic in our own mental ill health, for those who are treated as somehow less essential to our communities due to race, belief, gender, ability or sexual orientation," he said.

"And of course with Brexit our preoccupation with leaving or staying in the European Union, with our own self-interest over the needs of others, with our own parties and causes above those of others, threatens to put down demarcation lines which will take years to heal.

"Only our lack of occupation with the beyond-urgent need to take decisive action for the future of creation threatens our civilisation more." 

He said that while God "doesn't perform some kind of escape for us out of hardships", the Holy Spirit "makes all the difference" in every situation. 

On Pentecost Sunday, the Archbishop will be joined by other Church leaders and thousands of Christians in Trafalgar Square for the open air celebration, Thy Kingdom Come. 

He said the gathering was a chance for the church to pray for a renewed sense of God's presence. 

"Because we need God to break the barriers down between us, to bring love between people of different backgrounds and opinions, we need God to give us his love and his hope," he said.

He concluded by saying that although prayer was one of the simplest things people could do, it was more needed than ever. 

"And of all the things we could do, I think this is what we need to do more than ever," he said.

"Please join us in Trafalgar Square on Sunday as we pray and wait on the presence of God to set us free — so that we have strength, courage and love to live in the middle of all that occupies us."