C of E's General Synod to debate 'reconciliation' for nation that is divided

The archbishops of Canterbury and York are calling on the UK's political leaders to draw on "Christian hope and reconciliation" to help steer the country through a time of seemingly "entrenched and intractable" divisions.

Amid the sometimes toxic mood of the public debate around Britain leaving the EU, the archbishops have led a last-minute change to the agenda of the Church of England's General Synod in London next month.

It means a special debate, titled The State of the Nation, has been inserted into the schedule on the request of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu.

The motion states: "That this Synod, knowing through the experiences of parishes across the country that social divisions feel more entrenched and intractable than for many years, and concerned at the divisions within the major political parties which are stifling the emergence of a hopeful and viable vision for the common good in our communities."

It includes a call to see "the voices of the poor and marginalised at the heart of the nation's concerns" and asks "the nation's leaders, drawing on Christian hope and reconciliation, to work together for that common good at this time of division".

There is also a call for every diocese and parish regularly to "hold in prayer" their local MPs, politicians, the Government and civil servants, so they can seek God's "strength and wisdom for the responsibilities they bear".

The benefits of working with refugees and asylum seekers who are qualified in medicine, teaching, law or other professions, environmental programmes, evangelism, ministry to children and young people plus working with the gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are among the other issues to be discussed at the Synod.

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