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Hallo again to all.

Brexit has had a major presence in the news feeds of those on both sides of the Atlantic (and Pacific) of the Anglophone world over the last few months. The original date for Britain to exit the European Union has come and gone, and there appears to be little hope for an exit deal that will satisfy any plurality of parliament, much less other members of relevant parties, including the general citizenry of the UK and other European Union member countries.

Earlier this week the Church of England's Bishop of Europe, Dr. Robert Innes, called for a revocation of Article 50. He instead argued that Britain must seek a 'national consensus', citing a petition that now has over 6 million signatories calling for a second referendum, as well as the marches in London over a "people's referendum".

In January, Archbishop Justin Welby referred to the possibility of a no-deal Brexit as a 'moral failure' and though he does not support a second referendum, would do so over a no-deal Brexit.

There is no doubt that there are considerable problems with the European Union. From the democratic deficit, to seemingly unfair regulation and immigration policies, there are very valid reasons to be skeptical over the idea of the unified Europe and its market. However there is also much to be lost over leaving, especially with no deal.  Xenophobic screeds seem to dominate the Leave conversation, with idealized memories of the empire and 'better times'. Economically, however, powers have shifted, with large Asian, rather than small or medium sized European states dominating population and manufacturing, technology, and finance.  A different model is needed to compete on the world stage than a fully independent Britain can sustain to best serve her own population.

Paul wrote in I Corinthians:
As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you', nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you'. On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this.

As the Lambeth Conference approaches, we once again hear voices asking if we have need of those in other parts of the world. GAFCON originally made it clear it saw little use for those outside the Global South, though later they realized a need for sub-provinces in the north, planting new dioceses in areas where there are already flourishing provinces. Provinces that have grown to accept LGBT clerics and marriage equality question their need to be in fellowship with those who they view as preaching an exclusionary, reactionary gospel, while provinces that believe themselves to be biblically orthodox wonder what good it is to be in fellowship with those preaching morally therapeutic deism.

Like with a no-deal Brexit, both sides stand to lose a great deal by simply parting. As Paul said, we are all connected and bring different gifts, perspectives and views to our shared life. We are all called to Christ through a shared history and a shared call. The Anglican Communion, like the European Union, has never been nor ever will be perfect, but it—in forms both formal and informal—has sustained the preaching of the gospel across the world. It would be a shame in both of these cases simply to give up on human relation. Whatever the outcome to Brexit, or of attendance at next Lambeth Conference, we would do well to remember that there are no easy ways to cut off members of our own body.

See you next week.

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31 March 2019


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