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Ilford church to ‘build bridges’ with those struggling with Brexit vote

PUBLISHED: 15:37 14 July 2016

Vine United Reformed Church, Riches Road, Ilford, has been offering sessions to people struggling with tensions after the Brexit vote. Picture: PA Images/Dominic Lipinski

Vine United Reformed Church, Riches Road, Ilford, has been offering sessions to people struggling with tensions after the Brexit vote. Picture: PA Images/Dominic Lipinski

PA/Press Association Images

A church has become a place of refuge to those left shocked, confused and angry by the Brexit vote.

Vine United Reformed Church, Riches Road, Ilford. Picture: Google Street ViewVine United Reformed Church, Riches Road, Ilford. Picture: Google Street View

Church volunteers at Vine United Reformed Church, Riches Road, Ilford, held a session yesterday and are hoping to hold more after an outpouring of public distress as the referendum left families and friends divided across the borough.

According to organiser Ruth Musgrave, 63, of Auckland Road, Ilford, the sessions are designed to create a space for people on both sides to talk about their feelings during a time of uncertainty.

“It wasn’t about political views – it was about sharing your experiences,” she said.

“I think the church is all about building bridges and the first thing we did was to put up a big banner outside with a quote from Pope Francis which says ‘let us build bridges’.

“In times of crisis there’s even more of a need for people to be listened to and heard, and for people’s worries to be heard safely – it’s about offering hospitality.”

Ms Musgrave said one of the participants cried at the session, which was designed to provide a “listening space” to share “difficult experiences”.

She added: “There was a sense of confusion and a sense of anger that decisions have been made that we don’t have power over – it’s a sense of powerlessness and there’s a fear about the future.

“So many people have told me stories of people regretting it [the referendum] the next day – people were upset at work.”

The church is hoping to run another session given there is enough interest.

“Vine Church would open its doors again, or we’ll go to people where they are,” said the volunteer. “It’s a different way of talking to each other which is much-needed.

“There’s a need for respectful listening and we’re very happy to do more.”

For more information call 020 8514 8770.


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