The West Midlands Combined Authority Faiths Round Table has identified that, while places of worship are closed for public worship,…
Churches take a stand against racial injustice
Many Churches are speaking out following the death of George Floyd in the United States and subsequent protests around the world against racial injustice.
Pastor Yinka Oyekan, President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, addresses the ‘ongoing issues that are choking the life out of black people and people
of colour’ in the USA and the UK. Yinka calls out racism in the workplace, in the church, in the judicial system and in schools, noting that it is a historic, not just a contemporary, issue. Yinka concludes the article with the comment, ‘As Christians, we should take a stance against racial prejudice, and where we can do our bit to stand up against it, and any oppression of minorities whenever it rears its ugly head.’ Read the full text HERE.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and John Sentamu, released a joint statement, saying, ‘Recent events in the United States of America have once again drawn public attention to the ongoing evil of white supremacy. Systemic racism continues to cause incalculable harm across the world. Our hearts weep for the suffering caused – for those who have lost their lives, those who have experienced persecution, those who live in fear. God’s justice and love for all creation demands that this evil is properly confronted and tackled. Let us be clear: racism is an affront to God. It is born out of ignorance, and must be eradicated. We all bear the responsibility and must play our part to eliminate this scourge on humanity.’ Read their statement HERE.
The Archbishops’ statement is echoed by Bishop of Birmingham David Urquhart, who wrote, ‘I endorse wholeheartedly the joint statement issued … by the Archbishops of York and Canterbury. I appreciate, at this time, people will want to make their feelings known, as I do, for example by standing together and socially distanced on Thursday in Birmingham city centre. Peaceful protest and transparent solidarity have always been a significant part of the witness of the church…. We have before us the daunting task of eradicating personal and institutional racism. With Lord Jesus’ humbling, forgiving power, we can each be transformed and so be part of making a truly diverse, free, and reconciled society.’ Read his comments at this FACEBOOK PAGE.
Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference, issued a statement on the Methodist Church website, which included the following, ‘It is with outrage and deep sorrow that we have witnessed the recent brutal killing of George Floyd in the United States. But outrage and sorrow are not a sufficient response to racism and inequality in society. How to begin a process of change? It starts with self-examination and listening to the people whose lives are affected by discrimination and hate. As your President, I start by saying I am sorry. Sorry for being silent when we should have spoken out against the everyday injustices that affect BAME communities. I am sorry that, despite our efforts, we have not done enough for those who feel excluded and we need to do better. We know this includes people of all ages from the Windrush generation to the very young. I am sorry when we have not listened carefully enough and not challenged the assumptions of white privilege and bias.’ Read the full text HERE.
On behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, Bishops Declan Lang and Paul McAleenan write, ‘We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the USA as they challenge the evil of racism and the brutal killing of George Floyd. As the US Bishops made clear, “We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.” The peaceful Black Lives Matter protests taking place in our towns and cities this week reflect the understandable anger that so many people feel about this. As Catholics we recognise that racism is an evil which must be opposed; we all have a responsibility for actively promoting racial justice.’ Read the statement HERE.
Pastor Agu Irukwu, chair of the Redeemed Christian Church of God UK and Pentecostal President of ‘Churches Together in England,’ has released a 15-minute video statement, in which he encouraged Christians in the UK to pray for others, to share a message of love and forgiveness, to speak out against injustice, to challenge institutional racism and to encourage more representation from Black people and ethnic minorities in the many institutions which influence everyday life. Watch the video HERE.
Moderators of the URC General Assembly, Revds Nigel Uden and Derek Estill, write, ‘The United Reformed Church has no hesitation in adding its voice to the outrage and dismay expressed following the brutal killing of George Floyd. Floyd is the latest in a long line of black people killed in the USA by police officers – those whose sole authority comes from the motto to protect and to serve…. Together with our sister Churches in the USA, the United Reformed Church declares that racism – in any form – is a sin against humanity, and a sin against God, who created all people in God’s own image and likeness. Systemic racism is prevalent. So, it is not enough that we are ‘not racist’, we must be anti-racist – actively working to recognise and address bigotry in our own lives, and then to dismantle the structures of racism and injustice in our world.’ Read their full statement HERE.
Quakers in Britain writes, ‘There can be no peace without justice; no love without trust; and no unity without equality. Alongside Quakers in the USA, and their American Friends Service Committee, we stand with those whose lives are blighted by racist, discriminatory policies. We pray for the courage and steadfastness that will be needed as we uphold our testimony of equality, justice, peace, sustainability and truth. For us, prayer is inseparable from action. Humanity needs leaders of integrity and conscience, ready to be held to account by individuals and institutions, national and international. We pray for those in positions of power. We call on them, as public servants, to work with all of good faith to build the world we seek, to fertilise the soil in which the tender shoots of peace, love and unity may flourish.’ Read the full text at this FACEBOOK PAGE.
Commissioners Anthony and Gillian Cotterill, Territorial Leaders of The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom Territory with the
Republic of Ireland, write, ‘Our hearts are heavy and hurting because it is increasingly obvious that BAME (black, Asian and other minority ethnic) people in the UK continue to suffer institutional racism in all areas of life. Our hearts are heavy and hurting because racism infects the church – and we acknowledge and confess that this is true even in parts of Salvation Army life. We are deeply concerned by the research showing that people from BAME groups in the UK have suffered disproportionately from the coronavirus pandemic. We recognise this is a critical time and today we want to recommit to our journey of togetherness with people from BAME communities and respond with positive action.’ Read the full statement HERE.