Report of Meeting
Faith at Work in Worcestershire recently held their Open Meeting on the topic of “A Christian perspective on Brexit and its impact on our local economy”. The keynote speaker was David Hallam, a former Labour Member of the European Parliament for Shropshire, Herefordshire & Wyre Forrest and Methodist Lay Preacher.
David gave an engaging and impassioned talk on the European Union and its history, suggesting some explanations for the position and difficulties in which the country now finds itself. Those attending came from many churches of differing denominations and also from various working sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality, retail and the public services. Unsurprisingly one of the most important concerns expressed was the difficulty in coping with the lack of certainty. Sadness and regret were expressed as anecdotes were recalled revealing divisions in relationships between communities, colleagues, friends and families and workers from overseas were reported as feeling unwelcome.
Those present were challenged to question how they bring the message of the love of Jesus into the ensuing disturbances. One answer suggested was to pray. It was accepted that on the surface, prayer may seem like a weak response. However, the audience was reminded that in times of great trouble, Jesus’ first response was prayer. Prayer is a powerful tool and Christians must continue to pray in earnest.
People were also encouraged to engage with their communities as many who may have voted leave did so as they felt left behind, ignored and disenfranchised by the current political and economic system.
David commented that whatever outcome Westminster decides, as a country we will continue to have on going relationships with other European countries and we share a cultural and religious heritage with them. Therefore, the audience was encouraged to strengthen existing alternative European bonds, such as town twinning arrangements, to help to repair any damage to our international relationships, as we need to work together to make the world a better place.
Many present had witnessed verbal abuse of migrants in their communities. David suggested that Christians could be bolder in their living of the gospel and at the same time reminding those present that while they would understandably abhor such views, they must remember that those expressing them are still loved by God.
It was recognised that such deep divisions in our society will take some considerable time to heal, but as Christians we can be part of that healing process.
The Meeting closed with a time of prayer led by Revd Dick Johnson from Faith at Work in Worcestershire. He encouraged those present to each play their part to spread the healing love of God.