The Church Of England Has A Plan To Heal The UK's Brexit Divide – With Tea Parties

Leavers and Remainers can "get together and have a chat".

Church leaders will attempt to heal the UK’s Brexit divide by holding thousands of tea parties.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is asking Remainers and Brexiteers to get together at churches across the country over the weekend of March 30 – when Britain will leave the EU unless Theresa May is forced to seek an extension to the exit process.

The aim is to help people who disagree over membership of the bloc “chat over a cup of tea and pray for our country and our future”.

Priests will be equipped with newly-drafted prayers and “conversation starters” to help break the ice.

An information pack sent to more than 16,000 churches says: “Brexit will be a cause of great celebration for some and great lament for others, but now is the time when we can no longer carry on defining each other by how we voted in the referendum.”

It asks church leaders to encourage people who feel strongly to reach out to “people who feel differently”.

Archbishop Welby said Christians should show “compassion, solidarity and care”.

Archbishop Welby
Archbishop Welby
Press Association

He added: “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.”

One suggested topic for discussion is: “What effect has Brexit had in your family relationships, friendships etc and if you disagreed, has it been possible to disagree well?”

Another asks: “What are the three main things we have in common that we can build on for a better future as a community and as a nation?”

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has also written a “prayer for the European Union”, which asks God to “give your grace abundantly to our European Union leaders, that they may lead with wisdom and insight, with a willingness to lead and be led.”

Most church leaders, including both archbishops and a number of bishops, backed Remain in 2016, but, according to a poll by the William Temple Foundation, 66% of Church of England worshippers are thought to have voted Leave.

Archbishop Welby has also made several interventions in the debate over food banks, criticising the government’s Universal Credit reforms as being a root cause if a rise in food poverty.


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