As we have guest speakers this morning, I wasn’t going to give a sermon, but I have wrestled with the national

and international issues of the last few days and how, as Christians, we should respond to this unprecedented

situation. So I have come up with something brief.

I am not a politician and have no aspiration to be one, but what is done is done and whichever side we find

ourselves on we need to reflect on what has happened, what led up to it, and how we can contribute to

whatever outcome emerges.

I am a French graduate, son of two French graduates and have lived in France for two years – you don’t have

to be Sherlock Holmes to speculate where my cross went on Thursday. But regardless of how we voted, our

job now is to ensure that the hateful and febrile atmosphere in which the campaign was conducted is buried

and not carried forward into the lengthy negotiations and constitutional crisis into which we have been


It is our Christian duty to pray and to work for peace and reconciliation, to support the fearful and to promote

harmony and compromise, to reassure the large number of younger voters who have been disappointed by

this outcome and to encourage those who did not participate this time to exercise this hard won right and to

engage fully in their social obligations.

However we voted, whether we acknowledge it publicly or keep the secret of the ballot box, we need to face

up to the fact that this campaign has centred on the divisive issue of immigration. It is Christ’s injunction to all

his followers that the welcome of strangers, feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless is the work of his

kingdom. In this time of frantic negotiation and ambiguity, this is not negotiable. Much has been said in

recent years of a kinder sort of politics, but the last few months have been anything but kind.

Above all, we need to be vigilant. We must not allow our country to descend into the sort of hatred,

xenophobia and outright hostility that scarred the previous century. In the words of my 91 year old mother-

in-law, “There have been two European wars, I lived through one of them and I don’t want there to be

another one.”

Our public by-line about ourselves, on our pewsheets and websites is, “where all God’s children are

welcome”. The outcome of the referendum reinforces the need for us to make that real in practical and

loving ways, to demonstrate that love triumphs over hatred, and community over division. As our

archbishops have stated, we must be builders of bridges, not barriers.