Diocese of Exeter

Bishops highlight Church’s responsibility to show support and pray amid Brexit anxiety

Sat 19 Oct 2019
By Tola Mbakwe

Anglican Church leaders in Exeter have made an appeal for churches be supportive to their communities amid the uncertainty of how the UK will leave the European Union.

Rt Rev Robert Atwel,l Bishop of Exeter, and the two Suffragan Bishops of Plymouth and Crediton, the Rt Rev Nick McKinnel and the Rr Rev Jackie Searle, have written to all the churches in about their responsibility to respond to Brexit anxiety in their local area.

The bishops said the letter was in response 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, ensuring  EU nationals are welcomed in each parish, and giving 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 Church or England 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.”

Boris Johnson has appealed to MPs to get behind his Brexit deal, warning any further delay would be "pointless" and "corrosive" of public trust.

With Parliament sitting on Saturday for the first time in 37 years, the Prime Minister said the agreement he struck in Brussels represented "the best possible solution".

However, he faces the prospect of further deadlock in the Commons, with opposition parties threatening to withhold approval until legislation to implement the deal is in place.

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