Church of England bishops have issued a joint statement saying that they were praying for "national unity" and for "courage, integrity and clarity" for politicians in light of last week's "turbulent" Brexit related events.

In a statement released on Saturday, the bishops also called on the country "to consider the nature of our public conversation", saying it was "time to bring grace and generosity back to our national life".

"At the heart of the Christian message is Jesus’ command to love our neighbour," the statement said. "This includes those with whom we agree and disagree – at home, in Europe, and further afield. We urge everyone – our political leaders and all of us – to bring magnanimity, respect and reconciliation to our national debate."

The bishops said there was now an "urgent need" for the UK to recover "a shared vision and identity to help us find a way through the immediate challenges".

The statement was released a day after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told the House of Lords that reconciliation must be "central to our future in this country" at the start of a debate on the role of reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy.

"This has been a week of deep division, and reconciliation will be something that, although applied to foreign policy in this debate, must become central to our future in this country," he said.