Bishop of Norwich's plea to MPs over Brexit debate
The new Bishop of Norwich has written to MPs in Norfolk and Waveney about the hostile tone of recent debates on Brexit in Parliament, calling on them to speak with respect, listen to each other and hear from the marginalised in society. Keith Morris reports.
Bishop Graham Usher wrote to MPs within the Diocese of Norwich to assure them of his prayers and to issue a plea for a change in the tone of debate and a move toward uniting the country rather than dividing it.
“The use of language in the debates inside and outside of Parliament has become unacceptable. I am deeply concerned about the increasingly hostile tone and the impact it is already having, and what it could lead to. In conversation with people in the last few days in King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Norwich, including on some tough estates, I am very aware that I am not alone in having this concern,” wrote Bishop Graham.
“As you will well know, we can use our words to build up or shake apart, to heal or to hurt, to see the good in each other or to victimize. There is an urgent need to heal the divisions and create a vision for the country that will draw people together rather than driving them further apart as seems currently to be the case. That work of building a united country needs to start now before the anger and divisions become even harder to heal.
“I want to simply encourage you to continue modelling a better way – speaking with respect, listening to each other, hearing from the marginalised whose voices are often left unheard, and, in the words of Jesus Christ, to learn what it is to ‘love one another’ even with our differences,” said Bishop Graham.
“Of course, many MPs are perfectly well aware of this, and I thank you for all the moderation you are able to bring. Thank you also for all you do to serve your constituents, often at some cost to MP’s families, and I want you to know that you are much in my mind at this time, and likewise with my colleagues the bishops of Lynn and Thetford.”
Bishop Graham also drew attention to a statement issued recently by all of the Bishops of the Church of England regarding recent Brexit debates. You can read it here.
Pictured above is Bishop Graham Usher. Picture courtesy of Diocese of Norwich.