Bishops write to Devon’s 600 Anglican churches calling for prayer and practical support over Brexit anxiety
The Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Robert Atwell, and the two Suffragan Bishops of Plymouth and Crediton, the Right Reverend Nick McKinnel and the Right Reverend Jackie Searle, have written to all the churches in Devon for which they have responsibility with guidance about how to respond to Brexit anxiety in local communities.
The Bishops said they were responding to the worries of many in the county, particularly in the farming community, and their “concern at the deep divisions in our nation”.
The bishops said it was not the role of church leaders to take sides over Brexit. Instead the Pastoral Letter October 2019 offers spiritual guidance and suggests practical ways in which churches can help those in their local community, particularly in rural areas.
These include making sure local foodbanks are well stocked and have enough volunteers, making sure EU nationals are made to feel welcome in each parish and offering advice on welfare organisations which work with the Devon farming community.
The letter states: “The Church of England must continue to be the Church for everyone. There are leavers and remainers in every congregation in Devon, but as Christians we are united by our shared responsibility to work for the common good and to promote a culture of mutual respect.
“We also have a responsibility to speak out for the most vulnerable in our communities and to help them as best we can. Are there practical things we can do by way of support? As a Diocese, we have an incredible network of parishes, schools and chaplaincies across Devon. If we work together, we can make a difference.”
There are over 600 Anglican churches in Devon.
The bishops are also encouraging churches and church leaders to “pray for the unity and reconciliation of our nation, for our politicians and community leaders, for journalists and all who shape public opinion.”