'Together' for Brexit Tea Parties

by Michael Ford last modified 19 Mar, 2019 03:22 PM

Churches in our Diocese are being invited to host events that allow communities to gather together in conversation and prayer as Brexit discussions reach a pivotal point.

And, if possible, to do it in a way the Church does best - over a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

Using the slogan 'Together', churches are encouraged to host informal café-style meetings over the weekend of 30 March to bring together people of all standpoints and encourage open discussion.

Backed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, resources launched today invite people to "get together and chat over a cup of tea and pray for our country and our future."

In a letter sent out from the Archbishops, they said:
"Whether or not March 29th becomes the day on which the UK leaves the European Union, it will be a significant moment in the national consciousness.

"While Brexit will be a cause of celebration for some and lament for others, one thing is clear - we can no longer continue to define one other by how we voted in the referendum. The time has come for communities to come together to serve the common good, in our nation and in our relationship with the rest of Europe."

In his recent Presidential Address to Diocesan Synod, the Bishop of Salisbury said that we should use the convening power of churches to bring people together to work at whatever can be done locally to debate with and encourage one another.

"I have never felt more urgent about what the Christian Gospel has to contribute to our common good," he said.

"We need to pray for our politicians, for our government, for our country, our union and for the EU and we need to pray for each other."

In their letter, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York invite churches to join in a national prayer initiative of five days, and consider hosting a tea-and-prayer drop in session in your parish on or around Saturday 30 March or maybe to find other more suitable ways to host an event that can bring your community together.

"I encourage you to do all you can to encourage prayer and conversations within and across communities during this time because it is really important that we try to get together as a community, maybe over a cup of tea to pray for our country and our future and to do so in love."

To assist with the events, the national church has produced a set of prayer resources and some suggested conversation starters, as well as locally printable publicity materials and graphics that can be shared on social media.

Under the slogan ‘Together’, the packs include specially-chosen Bible passages, prayers and prompt questions to start conversations, including: ‘What effect has Brexit had in your family relationships, friendships etc and if you disagreed, has it been possible to disagree well?’ and: ‘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?’

Introductory notes for those taking part urge respect for the integrity of differently held positions, encouraging communities which feel the same about the issues to use their imagination to consider the viewpoints of those who feel differently.

The packs also include flyers, graphics for social media, and invitations which can be personalised for local use.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:
"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 said: "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. 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 are available at churchofengland.org/together.

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