Visitors to next week’s Christian Resources Exhibition (13/14 Mar, Event City, Manchester) will be invited to post prayers on a wall following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for five days of prayer concerning Brexit.
Andy Flannagan of Christians in Politics will lead a plenary at the exhibition, Bridging the Brexit Divide, (12pm, Wed 13 Mar), on a day in which MPs may be asked to vote on whether or not to leave the EU without a deal. Cross-party contributors will include Cllr Tanya Burch from Salford, Methodist minister Rev Ian Rutherford from Manchester and Irish singer and former MEP for Connacht-Ulster, Dana, who will also open CRE North.
‘It is very easy to feel paralysed by both the complexity and toxicity of the issues surrounding Brexit,’ said Andy. ‘We may feel as if we are sliding towards chaos but we follow a God who since the dawn of time has brought order from chaos. It shouldn’t scare us. If you think we are in chaotic times, try living in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar!’
Order emerges from chaos through restored relationships, believes Andy.
‘The cross sits at the centre of history because it makes possible the reconciliation between us and God and between us and those who may not feel like “us” anymore,’ he said. ‘There is currently a real danger of a cultural divide becoming a chasm. We need to build relationships across divides.’
Being on our knees won’t just change the Brexit situation, it will change us – ‘and that might give us just a chance to be peacemakers and bridge-builders.’
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has welcomed the initiative at Event City.
‘CRE is an event that brings together churches from many different traditions and persuasions,’ he said. ‘It is an ideal place for positive discussion and agenda setting. My prayer is that we all find wisdom, courage, integrity and compassion for our political leaders and MPs, for reconciliation and a fresh and uniting vision for everyone.’
Back in Manchester for the first time in five years, CRE North is a unique showcase where innovative products and services for churches – from pulpits to puppets, sound systems to software – will be displayed by some 150 organisations. More than 30 seminars and presentations will cover areas like cyber security and safeguarding in church.
• CRE North 2019 at Event City, Manchester opening hours: Wed 13 Mar 10am-8pm and Thu 14 Mar, 10am-4pm. Visit www.creonline.co.uk for more information.