Accept Brexit and Trump, says Archbishop of Canterbury during General Synod opening address

15 February 2017 | by Carina Murphy

Welby called upon the people of the UK to reject self-indulgence and follow Christ’s example

Christians should accept the vote for Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US president as at the moment “we see neither the destination nor the road”, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Justin Welby also called upon the people of the UK to reject self-indulgence and follow Christ’s example to “play the part to which we are called in reimagining our country and seizing the best future that lies before us”, in his presidential address at The Church of England General Synod in London on 13 February. 

Rather than concentrate on the “uncertainty” and potential cultural, political and economical threats brought about by the Brexit vote or the election of President Trump, who he associated with “many, other leaders in a nationalist, populist, or even fascist tradition of politics” we should accept them, he added.

Now is “a moment of potential opportunity, certainly combined with immensely hard work and heavy lifting. It is a moment of challenge, but challenge that as a nation can be overcome with the right practices, values, culture and spirit. This could be a time of liberation, of seizing and defining the future, or it could be one in which the present problems seize our national future and define us,” Welby said.

The Church of England has an important part to play in seeking solutions. “We can be part of the answer, we have a voice and a contribution and a capacity and a reach and above all a Lord who is faithful when we fail and faithful when we flourish,” Welby told the Synod. “We educate a million children. We are in every community. We are embedded in the national history. We can work in partnerships, ecumenically, interfaith and across society, partnerships that have grown stronger in this century.”

On 14 February, the General Synod rejected moves to end the legal requirement to read banns for couples intending to marry in church services.

Members voted on against a Private Member's Motion brought by Rev Stephen Trott, from Peterborough Diocese, calling for draft legislation to be drawn up to transfer "ecclesiastical preliminaries", the legal paperwork currently carried out by clergy before a church wedding, to civil registrars.

The motion called for a similar system to the one in operation in Scotland since 1977, when banns were replaced by a Marriage Schedule issued by the civil registrar.

Rev Trott told the General Synod that administering banns was 'fraught with difficulties' and a cause of 'great concern and even stress' to clergy.

Clergy should be concerned with marriage teaching and preparation and not the 'heavy burden' of a legal role, he said.


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