Commenting on the result of the EU Referendum, Lancashire’s Anglican Bishop Rt Rev. Julian Henderson said: “The vote yesterday by the country has sent a clear message to the Government that our future as a nation is to lie outside the European Union.
“In many parts of Lancashire the vote to leave was decisive. While the overall national vote is much closer there is a definite mandate for a new relationship with our European neighbours.
“The passionate debate running up to the vote revealed very substantial differences of opinion within organisations and political parties so, while the clarity of the decision is welcomed by some as a hard-won victory, the defeat is a cause of great sadness to others.
“Currently there is a nationwide mixture of joy and delight on the one hand and disappointment and despair on the other.
“There is also the uncertainty provoked by the decision of the Prime Minister to step aside, most likely by the autumn, to allow the exit from the EU to be managed (in his words) by ‘fresh leadership’.”
Bishop Julian, the Bishop of Blackburn, continued: “We now find ourselves in a place where we need to unite a divided country and plan for a different future alongside the remainder of the EU.
“It is still early days and the dust will not settle for some time. Only then shall we be able to see more clearly the consequences, the opportunities and the challenges of this decision.
“I would counsel caution against hasty reactions that might be regretted in due course. Today is not a day for recrimination or to apportion blame, but rather one in which we look for ways to unite our society around the common good.
“As The Church of England in Lancashire we will continue do what we can to promote greater well-being and cohesion in our various communities believing, in the spirit of our Diocesan Vision 2026, that healthy churches do have a transforming impact for good on wider society and praying the words of the Lord’s prayer: ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven’.
“Coalitions of nations and leaders may come and go, but God’s sovereign purposes will come to pass, and in that we take comfort and courage for the journey head.”