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“Emergency Debates, A Pastoral Letter And An Invitation”

In the wake of the result of the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union and its result the Diocese in Europe has been busy, examining the possible implications of withdrawing from the EU and its effect on churches and their members.

At a national level a debate is planned in the House of Lords and the General Synod’s already packed agenda for the weekend beginning Friday 8 July has been amended to include an emergency debate on a, so called, “Brexit”.

Members of the Bishop’s senior staff met in Brussels to consider a response and look ahead to the process of withdrawal. A most important result has been the sending of a pastoral letter from our two bishops, requesting that it be read aloud at services this Sunday (3 July 2016)

The letter highlights the fact that there are unlikely to be sudden or immediate effects for church members because of the formal administrative process of leaving the EU. The bishops urge understanding for people who are troubled by the plans. It also acknowledges our Diocese’s lengthy history in mainland Europe and asks; We believe it is also right that our churches re-double their efforts to demonstrate the unity which transcends national and political boundaries, and their social commitment to the places and projects in which they are involved locally.”

It goes on to acknowledge public expressions of intolerance and racism saying “This is a worrying feature of contemporary Europe more generally. So we emphasise that our churches are open and inclusive places where all are welcome.”

The letter concludes with an appeal and call for prayer.

You can read it in full here PASTORALLETTER

One most heartening development during the past week’s fast changing news has been an approach by Rev Keith Maudsley, Rector of St. Mary's, Lymm, in the Chester Diocese where parishioners have been wondering at local church level whether one appropriate response to the EU referendum might be to investigate the possibility of an informal 'link' with an Anglican chaplaincy/community within the EU, and whether the Diocese in Europe might be able to facilitate such a link. He adds; “It might represent one small act of solidarity in the face of the 'exile' we now all face.”

If any churches in the diocese are interested in this positive response please contact paul.needle@churchofengland.org and we can gauge interest and perhaps put people in UK dioceses with fellow Christians in Europe.