A letter from… a European in the UK
Leonora Jagessar-Visser’t Hooft urges UK churches to discuss Brexit
I am preparing my sermon for Sunday and again, I will make mention of Brexit. I will say: ‘There are many things that leave an imprint on us as we journey through life… culture, experience… and I am sure Brexit will also leave an imprint on our lives and especially on the lives of those youth who feel they are losing opportunities and are worried about the negative impact and damage to Britain’s image as an open and tolerant society.’
Why do I mention it? Am I trying to elicit a response from the congregation? Yes, probably I am, but the response is not forthcoming. Only when I came home from holiday a few days after 23 June 2016 did an elder share his frustration with the Brexit referendum result and recognised that I certainly would be disappointed. Not long after, a very nice and encouraging letter from the United Reformed Church General Secretary came through the letterbox, written in recognition that the Brexit vote would be unsettling for me (and other European colleagues who work for the URC).
While I have heard quite a few British colleagues exclaim in the strongest terms how upset they are about the UK leaving the EU, I find the general silence on the subject in many local churches rather strange. I have no idea whether people are indifferent, resigned or, who knows, quite pleased? After all, Daily Mail readers in my congregations are fed a daily dose of pro-Brexit news and xenophobia. Not to mention those glued daily to their television screens…
Leonora Jagessar-Visser’t Hooft is minister of St Andrew̕s, Kingsway and Trinity churches in Iver, Buckinghamshire, and Slough, Berkshire
This is an extract from an article that was published in the February 2018 edition of Reform