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Racial Justice: "From Lament To Action"

 

In Autumn 2020, The Archbishops of Canterbury and York set up an Anti-Racism Taskforce.   The work of the Task Force looked at the real lack of progress on tackling institutional racism in the Church in over 35 years, and it has prepared the ground for a longer-term Commission on Racial Justice for the national Church.

This Taskforce has today published its report "From Lament To Action", which has been welcomed by the two Archbishops.  The Report proposes a suite of changes to begin bringing about a change of culture in the life of the Church of England.  The report sets out 47 specific actions for different parts of the Church of England to implement across five priority areas: participation, governance, training, education and young people.

 

 

From the Diocese in Europe, Bishops Robert and David have responded to the Task Force Report:

“The Diocese in Europe is gloriously diverse and welcomes worshippers and incorporates clergy from across the globe. So the publication of ‘From Lament to Action’ is a welcome challenge for us. As bishops we long to see our structures, councils and synods represent better our diversity and we are committed to the journey to make this a reality.

We are ashamed when we detect evidence of discrimination in our discernment or appointments processes and take steps to address any such injustice. We know there is urgent work for us all to do in encouraging minority ethnic ministry and representation. We intend our diocese to be a spiritual home where everyone is welcome and belongs. And we pledge to do everything we can to ensure people of all races experience the dignity of being beloved children of God. Please join us in this vital task.”

The Diocese in Europe has been working intensively on ways in which we ensure racial justice across our own diocesan structures and chaplaincies.

In December 2020, Diocesan Synod unanimously approved a report entitled "Breathing Life".  This report was prepared by The Bishops’ Working Group on Racial Justice, chaired by The Ven. Dr. Leslie Nathaniel and includes two clergy, The Revd Augustine Nwaekwe and The Revd Smitha Prasadam, Bishop's BAME Advisors, and a chaplaincy lay representative, Ms Ozichi George Baron. 

The Group today commended the urgent and timely Report, emphasising:

“What makes this report significant is its impetus, scrutiny, direction and implementation.  It seeks to address the 4th mark of mission – “to transform unjust structures in society”.” 

The members of the group added:

'Breathing Life' anticipates and mirrors many of the recommendations made in 'From Lament to Action' and members of the Working Group are already working alongside synods and chaplaincies to monitor participation and audit the presence and active engagement of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) members at every level of church life.”

The Diocesan Group also stated unambiguously in their response today that:

“Unless every diocese makes the same stringent commitment to implementation and action; and every Archdeaconry Synod and Chaplaincy follows suit, the work of the Archbishops’ Task Force will be in vain and the ghosts of Stephen Lawrence, Nicole Smallman, Bibaa Henry, George Floyd and Daunte Wright will haunt us for generations to come.”

You can read the full response of the Group to the Task Force Report today here.