The Christmas Message released to the press and media by the Revd Dyfrig Rees, the Union’s General Secretary, received widespread publicity. HM The Queen’s annual message followed the same theme. Perhaps she’d read the Union’s paper Y Tyst the previous week!
CALL FOR TOLERANCE AND GOOD WILL – Christmas Message by the Reverend Dyfrig Rees, General Secretary of the Union of Welsh Independent Churches
Christmas is the season of goodwill, but bitterness about Brexit has soured the atmosphere this year, according to a Welsh Christian leader. “Greater tolerance is needed to lower the present political and public tension,” said the Reverend Dyfrig Rees, General Secretary of the Union of Welsh Independent churches – which represents Christians who meet in 400 chapels across Wales. “We must not allow the debate about leaving the EU to cause lasting public resentment or seriously damage our relationship with our European neighbours. Whatever the status of that relationship is by the end of the current process, it must continue to be a friendly one,” said the Revd Rees. “We must remember that we are leaving the EU, not leaving Europe.”
“Jesus was born in a very dangerous place and time, as the account in the Gospel of Mathew about the slaughter of the babes of Bethlehem by Herod’s soldiers testifies. Two thousand years later, political tensions still pose a real threat to varying degrees. It’s a striking thought that the babies born this time of year will probably be the last European Citizens to be born during Christmas in the UK since 1973.
“Over the last few weeks, tension about the process of leaving the EU has escalated, with deep and bitter divisions in the UK parliament and in public. Opinion in the United Kingdom is anything but united.
“During this season of goodwill, it’s imperative that we exercise great tolerance to prevent the situation from becoming even more bitter. Let’s not forget what happened to poor Joe Cox MP who was murdered during the 2016 referendum. Neither must we forget the thousands who died during the Troubles in Ireland. That conflict was resolved through incredible reconciliation and forgiveness. It would be an immense sin if the peace bought at such cost was to break down now.
“Almost everyone has an opinion about our relationship with Europe. But whatever the status of that relationship by the end of the current process, it must continue to be a friendly one. We must remember that we’re leaving the EU, not leaving Europe.”