The Rector Writes – Brexit thoughts; holidays and going to other churches….

I am sure I am not the only one who had hoped that the media hype surrounding ‘Brexit’ would by now have been consigned to history. That a ‘remain’ vote would have carried the day and we could all get on with life in an atmosphere of relative calm and a degree of certainty. However, that was not to be. Instead we have been cast into a period of chaotic uncertainty, of totally unchartered waters which has put any sustained national economic recovery here in Ireland into serious doubt.

Internationally there has been considerable condemnation of the result as it is feared that it may precipitate another global recession with all the consequences that that entails. Meanwhile international investors are running for cover and offloading British and European stocks and shares they perceive at risk. And this has major implications for pension funds – many of which are already seriously underfunded. In turn, this has implications for anyone nearing or considering retirement as their projected income will now be far less than expected.

In the days since the referendum result was announced there have been endless airtime and column inches devoted to why the result fell as it did. Many theories have been put forward, from a protest vote against the political elite to an upsurge of right-wing nationalism – a phenomenon which is already evident in other parts of Europe. This later theory is very worrying as it replicates in many ways the political scenario before the outbreak of World War II. This is the direct opposite of the aspirations of the ‘European Project’ which aspires to closer integration and cooperation to avoid such conflict. Certainly, there have been xenophobic and racist rhetoric used in promoting the ‘Leave’ campaign which has to be condemned as reprehensible.

But there are other concerning aspects of this referendum. The campaigners for a ‘Leave’ vote did not provide any explanation as what they would do once they got the result they sought. In other words, it would appear that the campaigners did not expect the result to go their way. Also, their campaign had a series of snappy sound-bites which seems to have resonated with the electorate – but unfortunately many of these were untrue or had little or no basis in fact. This raises major ethical issues and those who wilfully misled voters should be held accountable for their actions. However, it would appear that that is unlikely to happen. There is an old Chinese curse which says, ‘May you live in interesting times’. We are definitely now living in interesting times!

As we now head into July and August, we also face into peak holiday season. Mid-week parochial activities have been put on hold to resume again in the autumn. Families with school going children are enjoying a break from the treadmill of school runs and after school activities. For some, thoughts have turned to sea-side visits, picnics and barbecues or perhaps a holiday at home or abroad. May this time of rest and relaxation help us to regenerate our batteries and may we return fully refreshed.

As I have mentioned on previous years, although we may be looking forward to taking a break this summer, we are very fortunate that we have a God that never does. So this could be an opportunity to visit other churches and to get a flavour of what is happening in other places. And wherever we may find ourselves this summer, we can be assured of the warmest of welcomes if we join a local worshipping community for their Services. In return, we here in Tullow look forward to welcoming visitors who may be passing or visiting friends or relatives in our area. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a safe, pleasant and restful summer, and let us hope we get plenty of seasonal weather.

Every blessing, John

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