Steve's reflections on life

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Brexit Flags
I’ve spent my life in the accounts of World War Two and its impact on our nation. One of the things you notice over and over again is the profound sense of ‘pulling together’ that marked local communities in those desperate times. In 1940, Britian stood on the precipice of invasion and the annihilation of everything people held so dearly. Like many, I have my own views about the EU but I want to say something about the effects of this protracted process, the impact on diverse communities and the opportunity I believe it presents for the Gospel and the Church.

Many will know we facilitated a six month full-time base in the heart of the Calais Jungle a couple of years ago at the height of the migrant crisis in Northern Europe ( It was not, in any way, politically driven but out of deep sense of compassion for those caught up in the stampede to flee cruelty. There were certainly opportunists in the middle of it but we saw thousands of abused and rejected people whose only crime was to be born in a volatile part of the world.

During our time in Calais, I went through the Channel Tunnel on many occasions. The picture above captures that historic moment when the two halves of the tunnel finally met and construction workers on either side exchanged flags deep beneath the English Channel. The day after the EU Referendum in the UK, a French Church Leader I was due to meet asked me if I still wanted to come, still wanted to work together? I was shattered that he took a national vote personally and felt to ask me if our friendship was now at an end.

The most distressing element of Brexit, the decision to leave the EU political structure, is that it has communicated a message of separation and even divorce from our European neighbours. I’m a patriotic Englishman at heart but totally disassociated myself from the nationalism that is worryingly present in this process. Whatever the outcome will be, we are a collection of islands in physical terms only and our connections across Europe and the world are crucial to our shared prosperity and even survival.

What this crisis does provide is an unprecedented opportunity to communicate this life-changing Gospel across the wastelands of the UK and Europe as a whole. Only Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and the Light of the World, can bring the hope that is so desperately needed by people of all nationalities and ethnic groups.
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