In the weeks prior to the Referendum, everyone I met spoke in favour of remain and their fears of Brexit. I did not hear one dissenting voice in the conversations I had.
After the Referendum, almost everyone I met spoke of their shock and disappointment. Pro Brexit voices were very few and far between.
And yet 52% of the nation voted for Brexit. As a priest I like to think I meet a good cross-section of people but the truth is that I do not. I move in limited circles and tend to mix with like-minded people.
There are many (too many) voices which are rarely, if at all, heard in Church circles and within the Church we spend too much time talking to ourselves and rarely consciously seek out voices which are different to our own. The lesson from recent events is that the Church (as Westminster politics) is becoming quite insular within society; our reach is not what it once was.
Our Bishops have rightly and eloquently spoken of the need for unity but before there can be unity we need to be engaged with those who think and speak differently, who see the world from a different perspective. Before unity must come deep listening, a learning to see life from a different ( and perhaps uncomfortable) perspective.
Quite simply if I am to be a more effective priest (and a better citizen) then I am going to need to move in different circles