Racial justice and inclusion is a critical priority for the Church of England and our diocese is responding to the call to ensure our parishes, clergy and volunteers represent the diverse communities we serve. Read the Church of England’s full ‘Lament to Action: Report from the Archbishop’s Anti-Racism Taskforce’.
Diocesan Racial Justice Committee
The national Lament to Action Report has been the instrumental in beginning the long overdue work to bring about racial justice and reconciliation within our Church and society. Any tolerance of inequality on grounds of race devalues God’s creation, and The Church must be committed to confronting the sinful reality of persistent and pernicious racism. There is much to repent of and still much work to do. And to achieve it will involve change at every level: national, diocesan, parish and church. To help develop a diocesan strategy we have formed a Racial Justice Advisory Group who:
- Have lived experience
- Are ready to challenge our (current) structures, policies, etc
- Are able to review proposed strategy and changes to working practices
- Are able to help us to find opportunities and remove blockages
Bishop David will lead the Advisory Group as it gathers information and shapes a diocesan strategy for Bishop’s Council approval. To do this, the advisory group will be able to call on a wide range of diocesan staff for expert knowledge and advice. With elections for diocesan synod coming up in 2024, it is hoped that we will begin to see a wide and diverse range of people coming forward to be represented not just on the Racial Justice Advisory Group, but on diocesan synod and all of our synodical committees, too. We’re delighted that the following individuals have agreed to be part of our Advisory Group:
- Mel Osborne – Brockenhurst
- Yin-Yin Bull – Fair Oak
- Bev Price – Southampton St Mark
- Stephen Bennett – Brockenhurst
- Bruce Viney – Bournemouth St Clement
- Emma Trenier – National Church
- Mike Powis – Bournemouth All Saints
- Jane Kelly – RE & SIAMS Consultant
- John Hudson – Basingstoke
- Serena Merritt – Hythe
- Tess Kuin Lawton – Winchester Cathedral
Schools Resources on Racial Justice and Inclusion
The Winchester Diocese Education Team has produced a wide range of schools resources on the theme of racial justice and inclusion. These can be used in both church and community schools and are also suitable for use with children and young people in churches.
The resources include annual schools projects on subjects such as Gamechangers (exploring people who have made significant changes to the world, including in the area of racial justice and how we can also be agents of change); Everyday Ubuntu (looking at the South African philosophy that we are only fully human in community with other people) and Standing Together (investigating how we can show solidarity with those who have been dispossessed.) There is also a wide selection of resources for Religious Education and Collective Worship, including All Are Welcome, a set of resources based on children’s books by UKME authors; a project based on the children’s book An Angel Just Like Me, which explores the stereotypes around the Christmas story; and The Christmas Star, which reminds us that we can all be part of God’s story, whoever we are.
Clergy Study Day With Dr Perera
Dr Sanjee Perera, the Archbishops’ Adviser for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, visited the Diocese of Winchester in October 2022 and facilitated a clergy study day, a catalyst for our own diocesan strategy to improve racial diversity and inclusion in our communities.
Report Into Historic Links With Transatlantic Slavery
Read the full report into the Church of England’s historic links to transatlantic chattel slavery and the announcement of a new funding commitment of £100m in response to certain findings.
Biannuals Report of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice
From Lament to Action
While it may be hard to acknowledge, racism does exist in the Church of England. And we will need to work together to root it out. A good starting point is the Anti-Racism Taskforce report, ‘Lament to Action: Report from the Archbishop’s Anti-Racism Taskforce’, which makes 47 recommendations to achieve lasting change, along with the ‘Third Biannual Report of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice.’
The Taskforce was set up in 2020, amid rising concern regarding insufficient progress towards racial justice, equality, and inclusion within the Church of England. They started out by researching what had been achieved in terms of racial justice. The results were concerning – while various reports and formal recommendations had been put forward relating to racial justice, there were no clear signs of progress. As the name of the report suggests, the Taskforce determined that urgent action is needed.
“A failure to act now will be seen as another indication, potentially a last straw for many, that the Church is not serious about racial sin. Disregarding a significant part of the population, and thus denying the gifts they bring for the service of the Church, is a loss to us all.”– From Lament to Action
What Action Does the Report Call For?
The From Lament to Action report calls for action in five key areas – participation, education, training and mentoring, focusing on young people, and structures and governance.
We need to ensure full participation of UK Minority Ethnic (UKME) Anglicans and Global Majority Heritage (GMH) Anglicans in the life of the Church of England. We can do this through new requirements around appointments, the use of co-opted powers in governance bodies, and fundamental changes to data gathering, targets and reporting.
There are thousands of Church of England schools across the country, and within these schools we should be working towards racial justice, from equipping teachers to content and curriculum development. We should also ensure that governing boards, teaching staff, and the student population are more inclusive.
3. Training and Mentoring
The Taskforce furthermore recommends learning programmes in order to embed anti-racism practice. They also propose the creation of national resources for anyone involved in discernment and formation processes.
4. Focusing on Young People
As well as in schools, we should be creating opportunities for UKME/GMH young people to take part within the Church, bringing them into the heart of the congregation, which the Church of England historically has not done.
5. Structures and Governance
Unless we amend the structure and governance of the Church, true change won’t be possible. We thus need to modify these things within the Church of England, from General Synod to local PCCs, allowing for the effective participation of UKME/GMH people at every level.
In order to start campaigning for racial justice in your parish, why not download our Racial Justice Action Plan below:
Church of England Resources
- Liturgical Resources for Racial Justice Sunday
- Racial Justice Commission News
- A Service for Racial Justice Sunday
- After the Flood: The Church, Slavery and Reconciliation
- Black Theology: An Introduction
- Beyond the Lych-gate; a Strategic Diagnostic of Church Culture and Practices that Marginalise and Disenfranchise Black, Asian Minority Ethnic People in the Church of England by Dr. Sanjee Perera
- Multiply 2022: Race and Culture in the UK Church
- Guvna B on Racial Justice and the Church
- Songs2Serve – Helping People from Different Cultures Worship Jesus in Unity
- Conversations on Race and Culture in the Church in the UK