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Brexit prompts German-born priest to become British citizen

22 March 2019

DIOCESE OF LONDON

The Revd Heike Prentice becomes a British citizen at a private ceremony this month

The Revd Heike Prentice becomes a British citizen at a private ceremony this month

BREXIT has prompted a German-born priest, the Revd Heike Prentice, an Assistant Curate of St Peter’s, Hammersmith, in London, to become a British citizen.

Mrs Prentice, who has lived in the UK for 32 years, and was ordained in 2018, became a citizen at a private ceremony earlier this month. She said: “I was devastated by the result of the [EU] referendum. To be completely honest, I felt rejected by the British people — something I’d not experienced in all the time I’ve been here, as I’d always been made to feel so welcome.

“But, after some time, I realised that I still feel deeply a part of this country and close to the people here; I have been in the UK for many years, and have raised my children here. I have chosen to make my life here, and this is my way of embracing this country and its culture officially.”

In her three decades in the country before being ordained, she worked as a PA and administrator in publishing, IT, and education, before qualifying as a direction and leadership coach. Mrs Prentice and her husband, Alistair, have three sons, who hold dual British-German citizenship.

Mrs Prentice also runs the English for Women scheme, through which women in Essex from 31 countries are taught English at Chelmsford Cathedral (News, 15 June 2018).

“I think outsiders can probably spot the character of a society more easily than those who have always been a part of it,” she said. “Something I’ve always noticed since coming to the UK is the hospitality and kindness of the people.

“I genuinely believe that if we can put politics and the things that we disagree about to one side, and connect about the things we have in common, we can move beyond Brexit in a positive way.

“Hopefully, my story, and the journey towards today, demonstrates that in a small way. I’ve invited people who come from all kinds of backgrounds and political beliefs, but we all have the same thing to celebrate.”

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