Statements on United Kingdom’s European Union Referendum

In the wake of the “Brexit” vote and as a global Communion of churches, we join with our sisters and brothers to continue our commitment to unity and justice across national boundaries and despite differing political views.

Jerry Pillay, our president, cited John Calvin’s beliefs about the connectedness of all human beings in an address earlier this year, saying, “[Calvin] stressed the point of covenantal theology and laboured the fact that God covenants with all human beings, and they are part of the human chain. What chiefly matters is ‘the common advantage of the whole body’ (Inst., 111, vii, 5). ‘All people,’ he could maintain, ‘are bound together as a sacred chain … [which] …should be embraced in one feeling of love’ (Commentary Acts 13:36; Inst., 11, viii, 55).”

WCRC Europe has issued a statement which acknowledges the origins and positive work of the European Union, while noting it has faults, and then says, “We reach out in love to all our sisters and brothers in the United Kingdom, especially those who are now feeling distraught or unwelcome as a result of this vote. And we encourage all people of goodwill and faith to hold all the citizens of the United Kingdom, the citizens of all European Union member countries, and especially those whose task it is in government and politics to move forward in the new reality which has dawned in their thoughts and prayers.”

Richard Frazer, the Church of Scotland’s convener of the Church & Society Council, stated, “It is important to recognise that those who were our neighbours yesterday are still our neighbours today. And our neighbours are not just those we live next to but, within the Christian tradition, anyone who is in need. …We also need to play our part, together, in healing some of the divisions which have opened up and in promoting a more generous spirit between and towards our political leaders.”

John Proctor, general secretary of the United Reformed Church writes, “Amid divided opinions, we continue to build community, offer friendship and share the love of Jesus. Amid neighbours of many races and cultures, we believe in fellowship that crosses every boundary of frontier and nation. So we value especially the friends whose roots are different from our own.”

And Frank Sellar, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, has urged people to pray for our political leaders and for “wisdom and strength” in light of the referendum result: “For believers, our identity is found in Jesus, not in Stormont, Westminster or Brussels. Real hope is secure, as Christ is sovereign and good.”

Finally, we offer this prayer from Dornoch Cathedral (Scotland):

Lord Jesus Christ,
Lead us by your light,
Through the uncertainties of the days ahead
That with our hand in yours
We as a nation,
may choose to walk with you
in peace
in justice
in love.

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