THE Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, has called on members of the Diocese to promote unity despite division following last Friday's news that the UK voted to leave the EU.

Addressing the clergy, licensed lay ministers and churchwardens in a letter, he highlighted that Christians exist on both sides of the in/out referendum stating that "the changes it has triggered at the moment feel seismic".

"One of the problems is that the result was close and fractious," he wrote. "Some are delighted, others are downcast; a lot are bewildered.

"The economic situation currently feels very uncertain. Some turbulence after a decision like this was probably inevitable, but the absence of political leadership is making this worse, with both major parties retreating into internal disputes.

"Tragically, the murder of Jo Cox reminded us that most of our MPs, of whatever party, are committed, decent and extraordinarily hard-working. Pray for our politicians in this extremely testing time."

Revd Holtam made reference that within the Diocese the vote to leave had been clear with a 51.9 per cent vote.

"Many young people are angry and feel that their future has been taken from them by an older generation who appear to have had it all," he wrote. "In some places the vote to leave was out of the anger of people who feel their needs have been ignored in an age of austerity in which others seem to be thriving. Deacons are to work with fellow members of the church in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible. That is a Gospel imperative.

"Churches are centres of community and the Church of England is present in every community and serves the whole community. Please do all you can to get people listening and talking about what has happened because the extent of division has made even the conversation difficult.

"We are now preparing to leave the EU but we are still European. It is vital that we keep a vision of how we belong together in this world. The vote was about what political institutions will best support us in our being people who are English, British, European and global citizens. Love mercy, act justly, walk humbly with God and one another (Micah 6.8).

"Ours is a diverse, tolerant and creative society. That has seemed a considerable strength of the UK. Many of our neighbours who have made their home here are now feeling insecure about whether they are wanted. It might help for us also to think about the 2.2 million British people living elsewhere in the EU and the universal wisdom in the Gospels taught by Jesus that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us."