As we embark upon 2019, our country is in an unprecedented state, one giving rise to much anxiety, in which we are faced with the most significant of decisions for at least a generation. As the Brexit debate continues, it is very unclear what the future will hold. It is not only parliament that is very divided, we are divided as a country. The referendum, which was supposed to settle the issue, seems to have given rise to hostility as well as division.

In situations such as these, I find the words of Psalm 46, which have given solace to people for thousands of years, of great relevance: ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.’

Whether or not we feel able to put our trust in God, one thing is clear: there is an overriding need for us to come together as a nation in this coming year and beyond. Reconciliation is at the heart of the Christian faith: Christ came to reconcile us to God and to one another. Human reconciliation is essential for the well-being of our society, the communities within it and ourselves. whether or not we have faith.

I hope and pray that we shall all be able to work for that reconciliation and the common good in the months ahead.

May God bless you richly in 2019

Bishop John.