Explore these resources aimed at helping Christians to decide which way to vote in the upcoming referendum on the European Union taking place on 23 June 2016, including those from the Joint Public Issues Team, Christians in Politics, and the Church of England and Church of Scotland:
Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT)
A series of briefing notes, called Think Pray Vote, has been produced by the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church, with the support of the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office. The notes cover different topics related to the referendum and include background information, issues for debate and questions. The resource is designed to be used for conversations with groups or for personal reflection. Download the JPIT referundum briefing Think Pray Vote on the JPIT website, which also includes information on hustings (or question-time events) for the referendum.
Christians in Politics
This website from Christians in Politics provides a case for staying in the EU from Sarah Dickson, Director of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum, and arguments for leaving from Dr Adrian Hilton, a conservative academic, theologian, author and educationalist, currently based at Oxford University. It also has church resources, including small group Bible study, a prayer for churches and a guide to holding a referendum hustings. Find out more by visiting EU Focus by Christians in Politics.
Church of England and Church of Scotland
The Reimagining Europe website, which has been produced with editorial support of Crucible, the Christian Journal of Social Ethics, aims to create a space for Christian reflection and debate on Britain’s future relationship with Europe ahead of the referendum. The website says it has ‘no editorial line beyond a commitment to communicating Christian reflection and commentary in ways that enhance public understanding on an issue that many find both confusing and divisive’ and draws upon experts from a range of theological and political backgrounds from around the UK and Europe. Visit the Reimagining Europe website to find out more.
Christians for Europe
Website from a group of pro-European Christians in the UK from all political parties and denominations. The co-conveners are Sarah Dickson, Director of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum, and Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham. The president is the Rt Hon Sir Simon Hughes, former Liberal Democrat MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark.
See the Christians for Europe website for more details.
Christians for Britain
A new campaign group by Christians putting the case for leaving the EU. Co-chairmen are Rev Dr Giles Fraser, Priest-in-Charge at St Mary’s Newington in south London and the former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, and Dr Adrian Hilton, a political theologian, educationalist and commentator on politics, religion, culture and the arts. The president is the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe DSG.
Find out more on the Christians for Britain website.
Statements, papers and talks
Catholic Church in England and Wales
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales passed a resolution on the EU referendum at their April 2016 plenary meeting. The resolution stated ‘In our view, three things are essential: that we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit; that we all inform ourselves of the arguments on both sides of the debate; that we each exercise our vote with a view to the common good of all.’ See the Catholic Church in England and Wales website for the full resolution.
Christian Aid has produced a briefing paper looking at how the referendum on Britain’s place in the European Union might impact people living in poverty around the world and the charity’s goal of ending poverty. Download
The Evangelical Alliance is publishing a series of pieces exploring key issues relating to membership of the EU and how Christians might approach the vote: What kind of EU?
Faith in Europe
This sermon was given by the Very Revd Dr John Arnold, one of the vice-presidents of Faith in Europe, at the Europe Day service, Methodist Central Hall on 9 May 2016. Download
John Arnold also gave a speech at the launch of ‘Communities4Europe’, an initiative under the auspices of the European Movement to encourage local communities to organise meetings to discuss the issues at stake in the referendum. Download
The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and now Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, presented Thinking Creatively about Europe to the Faith in Europe AGM, 9 July 2015. Download
Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE)
KLICE is presenting a range of theological and political reflections related to the EU Referendum aimed at enabling Christians and others to take a more informed view on the core issues at stake. KLICE EU Referendum 2016
The ICC European Affairs Committee has produced a discussion paper entitled The Irish Churches and the EU Referendum, addressing the important questions that need to be asked to help churches and individuals engage with this important decision. The Irish Churches and the EU Referendum
The Salvation Army guide to the European Union Referendum provides an overview of the referendum and advises to pray, read widely and understand the issues, consider joining a campaign as an individual, hosting or attending a hustings, and then vote. Download
Theos, a religion and society think tank, has produced a report that aims to recall dimensions of the EU referendum issue that it says tend to be ignored: the moral and religious aspects of the debate. A soul for the union can be downloaded from the Theos website.
The EU Debate and the Gospel
A paper by Revd Dr Keith Clements, former General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches (CEC). Download
The Case for Europe: building bridges in an uncertain world
This document has been compiled by Michael Bourke, formerly of St Alban’s Diocese, working with a group of people in Shropshire and Herefordshire who have European experience. Download