Friday, 24 June 2016
Church responses to the EU Referendum
Updated Friday evening, Saturday morning, Sunday morning
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint statement.
On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union
The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.
The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.
As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.
The referendum campaign has been vigorous and at times has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage – being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.
As those who hope and trust in the living God, let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minister David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe has written a message to the diocese, copied below, and has also published this further reflection.
“The UK referendum campaign has been a bruising one, and I hope very much that there will now be a period of reconciliation and healing between those on different sides of the debate.
“The news that a majority of those in the UK wishes to leave the UK does not lessen the fervent desire of the Church of England Diocese in Europe to work co-operatively with our brother and sister Christians in Europe.
“The vote will, however, have particular implications for some members of our diocese. Of course, the vote itself only signals the intent to launch a long process of negotiations with the European Council. It is only as that process gets underway that we will know exactly how UK citizens living in Europe will be affected. Meanwhile, I want to assure our ecumenical partners in Europe of our heartfelt and continuing commitment to them.”
The Suffragan Bishop in Europe has written: We remain a European Church which serves all people. Let us resolve to be even more faithful to this calling.
Archbishop of Dublin and Archbishop of Armagh
Church in Wales bishops
Bishop of Blackburn
Bishop of Coventry
Bishop of Leeds
Bishop of Liverpool
Bishop of London
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Bishop of St Albans
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Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Friday, 24 June 2016 at 1:50pm BST
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If I were British, I would have voted for Brexit.
Same sex marriage within the Church of England isn't now possible in this Parliament IMO. Parliament isn't going to have time to deal with the necessary legislative changes to unpick the quadruple lock. Worse, if anything impinges on equality legislation many Tories are going to want to repeal large swathes of Equality Act 2010 and abolish the Equality and Human Rights Commission. That will take time and it might be immoral for the Church to precipitate a likely damaging review of equality legislation. I believe that small changes just to accommodate the Church of England won't be possible.
"We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one."
Please START ANEW BY AFFIRMING the equality of LGBTI Anglicans at ALL levels of Church of England churchlife...a wonder of an example can be reset NOW! Lead to set ALL PEOPLE FREE to become the responsible Anglican Communion world citizens we are meant to be! All must be spiritually WELL at home...it's up to YOU!
Yet more clap-trap from the ABC and the ABY. Don't they recall that we had an Ecclesiastical Brexit in the 16th century - it was called the Reformation and what a disaster that has proved to be as we move, under their leadership, further and further away from the Rock from which we were hewn. As a result of the disastrous result of the EU Referendum vote we have overnight moved from Great Britain to Little Britain.
The talk of building bridges,keeping calm and all the rest won't do. EU leaders are saying 'sorry and good riddance'. England has become the most hated country in the European region. The question for us is how do we respond to this anger?
Once we wake up to what we have done,and how we have been manipulated then something new might emerge.
Now we are in a time of deep confusion and chaos. Churches and communities groups should cancel their activities and bring people together so we can share our own anger,confusion and grief - that is where anything new has to start. -
From the statement by Canterbury/York, "The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world..."
Or, to put it another way, what it means to be the disunited Kingdom in an interdependent world.
One wonders how young people are reading the statements by church leaders, assuming of course they are reading them at all.
The former Bishop of Tonbridge, The Rt Rev'd Dr Brian Castle, has written an interesting reflection in which he suggests it's too early to try to bring about reconciliation - in his words:
"Reconciliation can only happen when the roar of battle has died down, when all involved regard themselves as equal (there can be no ‘victims’ when pursuing reconciliation) and when people can talk to each other about their hopes, aspirations and fears. Reconciliation also requires all parties to be open to change for the sake of the other. To do all this requires an honest look at the campaign and a willingness to face up to some of the demons that were and are prowling in the darkness."
His full reflection can be read here:
Its not England its the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland..says a proud Welshman and Briton. Wales voted out...but on international issues, the UK votes a whole..NI and Scotland, Wales and England have no international status outside sporting competitions.
Fr. David the 'rock' from which Anglicanism was ultimately hewn via the Church of England was not Rome but the independent (and orthodox) Romano-British Church in what is now England. It lasted for several hundred years until the Latin 'take over' at the Synod of Whitby 664. At the Reformation the Church of England reasserted its orthodox and scriptural independence.
By the way the current Archbishops may sometimes/often say things that we struggle to agree with but 'clap-trap' no.
... And another by the way, I would certainly agree with you that we have indeed moved courtesy of the recent Referendum to a 'Little England' position. This is not at odds with what I have explained above as we are talking European politics, not ecclesiology.
Church _in_ Wales, not of.
Paul Powers: apologies for our carelessness - of is now corrected to in.
Nicholas Henderson, I think that's a bit of a stretch. There is no evidence of Christian continuity in Britain over the 200-year gap between the Romano-British period and the conversion of the Saxons (excepting some Irish missionaries around the fringes in the later part of the period). It's very romantic to have an idea of a native 'Celtic' church free from popish influence, but I fear this is an historical illusion. Moreover, it is a myth that serves the inward-looking agenda of those who prefer little tiny Erastian national cults to the genuinely Christian vision of a universal Church Catholic.
"England has become the most hated country in the European region."
Baloney. Anti-EU sentiment in France is 61%.
It would be an act of true humility if the liberal religious establishment like their corresponding political liberal allies admitted that they have lost touch with the mainstream.
Right on, Nicholas Henderson!
Since 597 when Augustine and his Italian monks landed at Kent and established their base at Canterbury they then went on to have a bit of a referendum at Whitby in 664. Perhaps Nicholas could kindly remind us who won on that occasion? As I recall it was the pro-Europeans rather than the Brexiters. When referring to the Rock from which we were hewn I was clearly referring to Rome. The more I see and hear of Pope Francis and his exceptional ministry the greater my admiration becomes. Most recently his courageous remarks in Armenia concerning the genocide perpetrated upon that brave little Christian nation by the Ottoman Turks has boosted even further his high esteem in my regard.
Let us not forget that the Church of England is not confined to England, but also covers the whole of continental Europe.
Let us not forget that the Church of England is not confined to England, but also covers the whole of continental Europe.
Posted by: John Neal on Monday, 27 June 2016 at 6:45am BST
... and Asia as far east as Vladivostock!
Look forward to seeing the revised agenda for General Synod. This is a moment for the CofE to engage in the national debate, even if it means postponing some of our own stuff. Will talking about sex in private for 2 days whilst the nation convulses simply look irrelevant and self-indulgent?
Yes we need to have those conversations, but right now there is a much bigger national conversation about politics, identity, hope, fear, and the future, and the Church of England needs to be part of it.
I'm an Ignorant Yank, and exceedingly glad for NOT having had to decide on BREXIT.
However, I can say that what BREXIT arguments I have heard (and I assume that they, being the initiators, have the burden of proof) I have found unconvincing.
["When referring to the Rock from which we were hewn I was clearly referring to Rome. The more I see and hear of Pope Francis and his exceptional ministry the greater my admiration becomes." Heh, on his better days, the more Episcopalian that Francis sounds (and from the carping I've read from conservative Catholics, they agree!). I'd rather not take my chances w/ anyone "infallible," thank you: that "Rock" is a roadblock.]
"Look forward to seeing the revised agenda for General Synod. This is a moment for the CofE to engage in the national debate, even if it means postponing some of our own stuff. Will talking about sex in private for 2 days whilst the nation convulses simply look irrelevant and self-indulgent?
Yes we need to have those conversations, but right now there is a much bigger national conversation about politics, identity, hope, fear, and the future, and the Church of England needs to be part of it."
Brexit has shown what happens when a leadership group ignores the concerns of the rank and file. I agree the shared conversations must be abandoned but the replacement must be acceptance of same sex marriage and not the disastrous, half-baked Scottish solution which I believe will appear unconvincing to most LGBT people.
@JFC, "The more I see and hear of Pope Francis and his exceptional ministry the greater my admiration becomes. 'Heh, on his better days, the more Episcopalian that Francis sounds ..."
Right on JFC. Keep in mind that Francis is from the Americas, and has rehabilitated a Latin American perspective for Catholics. Keep in mind as well, that he is a Jesuit. His pastoral heart is informed by a well tuned theological mind ("formation") that has a kind of politic savvy that is very different from the often pastoral pablum we are used to in some Anglican circles.
In other news, re this thread, just today, the local branch of one of Canada's largest (and international) banks was cheering on customers buying British currency. Some folks, I gather, are actually borrowing money at current low rates to speculate by buying the pound. The theory is that what goes down must go up, and this is a good bet. There will always be an England And, how about that Mark Carney, eh?
Kate, there is nothing disastrous about the Scottish solution. It is tolerant, and it is far better than the current 'English solution'.
Same with Scottish politics. In 'UK' political terms, they seem like the only grown ups in the room.
As a Scot, I believe in the right of people to exercise their own conscience (rather tan have it imposed on them, Archbishop of Canterbury-style, as a top-down uniformity).
And that means respecting and allowing different consciences to our own.
And in political terms, it means I strongly believe in the right of nations to determine their own futures for themselves, according to belief and conscience. Which is why there is a disastrous democratic deficit, when Scotland as a nation wants to stay in the EU, but has the opposite choice imposed upon them, Archbishop of Canterbury-style.
More Scots want to stay in the EU than want to stay in the UK. Go figure the potential outcome. A second referendum is more or less inevitable. What kind of 'democracy' sees a nation elect just 1 out of 59 MPs who is a Conservative, yet imposes an austerity-obsessed Conservative government on that nation.
And Scotland IS a nation - a very different nation. Independence will not mean the end of 'common weal' between the nations of these islands. Rather, Scotland champions 'common weal' more than the neo-liberal Westminster parliament, which at present is a cesspit of anger, division, polarisation, ambition and dysfunctional chaos.
Let people, and let nations, exercise their own consciences. As an LGBT person, I want to exercise the conscientious beliefs I have in equal marriage. But as an LGBT person, I ALSO want to fight for the right of others to conscientiously believe that equal marriage, and indeed gay sex, is wrong.
Scotland offers a grown up version of politics. And the SEC offers a grown up version of handling disagreement and diversity. And it won't hurt me at all, as an LGBT person.
Respect for different opinions is essential. That is exactly where the Primates and the bishops have gone wrong. The SEC proposals are excellent, and following down similar lines to TEC, which is frankly a beacon for our Communion. The Scottish Episcopal Church is far from disastrous.
Scotland seems more mature and progressive than England, politically and theologically.
"Kate, there is nothing disastrous about the Scottish solution. It is tolerant, and it is far better than the current 'English solution'."
If a church sees same sex marriage as un-Biblical it cannot allow any. Once it allows one, just one, the argument that it is un-Biblical fails so then any refusal is then discrimination and a church should never allow any of its priests to discriminate. You are looking at it from the point of view of individual priests. I say that is irrelevant. What matters is the church.
Kate, what if the Church concedes that it is not omniscient, and that it accommodates two (or more) possible interpretations of human sexuality?
If it does that - and given human fallibility, that seems a pretty wise option - then what's left is the arguably far more important exercise of love and grace towards one another.
My 98 year old Mother-in-Law was watching the Jeremy Kyle Show on television and asked "Is this Parliament?"
Judging by the current chaos, turmoil and School Playground behaviour of our Parliamentarians following the absolutely disastrous Brexit vote - she wasn't far wide of the mark.
"Kate, what if the Church concedes that it is not omniscient, and that it accommodates two (or more) possible interpretations of human sexuality?"
It is possible for the Church to have two views on sane sex sex but not on same sex marriage. The former is an issue of belief, not action. The only justification for discriminating against same sex couples access to marriage is if the Church believes same sex marriage is not Biblical. If a priest doesn't agree, they may choose not to perform marriages for any couple or may resign their ministry. Nobody would be forcing any priest to celebrate a marriage against his or her conscience but they must be told that discrimination is not in accordance with the teaching of the Church so conducting marriage only for mixed sex couples wouldn't be an option.
Only just read the comments on the theory that the Celtic Church was independent of Rome. It was discredited years ago. Liturgically it was Latin rite..hence nearly all the ecclesiastical terms in Welsh are latin in origin. It accepted a date of Easter which was promulgated by an earlier Pope and it sent bishops to Church councils under the direction of Rome.
The antagonism that St Augustine of Canterbury met with was the racial crisis of the Britons who resented the invasion of their land by Germanic peoples, and were cut off from the mainstream.
That is why at Whitby the Celtic Church towed the line.
Whether this theory of an independent Celtic Church it is used by sixteenth century Protestants or twenty first century liberals it does not pass the historical test.