The Church of England has issued a prayer for the EU referendum, which asks for honesty, openness, generosity and discernment in considering the choice faced by voters on 23 June.
The nine-line prayer was released without comment by the church. However, according to a source, the text went through many iterations to ensure that it was scrupulously neutral. “There is no secret message,” the source said.
The prayer appeals for “grace to debate the issues in this referendum with honesty and openness”. It seeks generosity for those who seek to form opinions and discernment for those who vote.
It asks that “with all the peoples of Europe we may work for peace and the common good”. The prayer is intended for use by individuals and in churches.
Last month, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the most senior cleric in the C of E, said there was no correct Christian view about the referendum. “My hope and prayer is that we have a really visionary debate about what our country looks like,” he said.
David Hamid, the C of E’s suffragen bishop in Europe, told the Guardian it was tricky for the church to take a stand on a hotly contested political matter. “The C of E is a national church and has to serve all people of the nation regardless of their political orientation. The church has to be seen as neutral.”