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This ​page is home for ordained and lay voices from around the diocese, with the aim of generating discussion on a variety of topics.

As such, they represent personal opinion, and do not constitute the views of the Diocese of Guildford.

Second Thoughts About Europe

01 July 2016

Revd Canon Andy Wheeler - D​iocesan World Mission ​Advisor ​and Mission Pastor at St Saviour's, ​Guildford

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Too many heart-stopping moments.

I was not prepared for the sequence on television this morning, commemorating the opening of the bloody disaster of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. One hundred seconds of gunfire, silence, the famous whistles, more silence...  and in my head a torrent of images from a hundred books and documentaries.

I was not prepared for the outcome of the referendum, or the turmoil of uncertainty, fear, and questioning that has followed it.

Or for the internecine warfare that has engulfed our two main political parties, rendering them effectively leaderless, and us almost ungoverned.

And with shock realising that the international events that in part had provoked this implosion still continue, and that I had forgotten them: hopeless, multi-faceted war across the Middle East; a continuing exodus from Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia heading our way;  barriers, wire fences, and detention camps holding thousands of desperate homeless people.


"We will, we must, we cannot avoid taking our place and responsibilities, and paying the cost, in a world crying out for wise, compassionate and collaborative leadership."


And then realising that from the Somme until today, and into the future, we will, we must, we cannot avoid taking our place and responsibilities, and paying the cost, in a world crying out for wise, compassionate and collaborative leadership.

Two particular thoughts have preoccupied me in these days. First the great shout from the margins, the forgotten, the unheard, the by-passed and the unemployed in cities, towns and rural areas of our nation that found expression within the referendum vote. We have known and walked by on the other side for decades – perhaps generations. Will we, as a nation, at this moment of crisis and opportunity address only the issues of European bureaucracy and migration? Or respond to the inequalities, exclusion and hopelessness that characterise many areas of our country?


"Will we, as a nation, at this moment of crisis and opportunity address only the issues of European bureaucracy and migration? Or respond to the inequalities, exclusion and hopelessness that characterise many areas of our country?"


And secondly, a concern that we should not merely go to church, but BE the Church. If the Church is the Body of Christ, broken but being healed, diverse in conviction, language and culture, scattered across the world but seeking unity, seeking to share the pain of those who suffer, and the resources that God has given to all. If it is, in all its failures and insufficiency, nonetheless the model, the paradigm of God’s vision for human community and relationship, then, now is not the time to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass, but to risk living it out more boldly, more collaboratively, more publicly, more riskily, more compassionately, more humbly than ever before.  

 

Related articles: Bishop Andrew's statement on 'Brexit'

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4 comments

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  1. Ness Palmar | Jul 03, 2016
    Thank you for this. Feeling reluctant to go to church at the moment and not mention 'the elephant in the room!'  It's been hard enough not to talk about it at work this week for fear of offending anyone.  Feel very strongly that Jesus is my Guide-although I always fall short.  And the words Compassion, Humility and Inclusion are words that mean a lot to me. 
  2. Rev Brian Thomas | Jul 03, 2016
    Good reflection, Andy. More, please.
  3. Ian Sams | Jul 01, 2016
    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely it should be fortuitous that the quest for absolute control of Europe by bureaucrats has been thwarted
  4. Sophie Watkins | Jul 01, 2016
    This is an amazing word. I thank you. You speak from the heart of the Lord. Wow!

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