Addressing racism in the Church is the work of all God’s people. The diocesan Racial Justice Forum has been established to raise awareness of the importance of racial justice and to help our churches commit to end racism and acts of discrimination.
All are welcome to join the forum - contact Bishop Martin in the first instance.
Racial Justice Sunday 2024
Churches Together has published resources for Racial Justice Sunday on 11 February. Find material for a bespoke service or a prayer that can be used in a normal Sunday service on their website. Do also let Sam know if you are planning anything for Racial Justice Sunday.
Black History Month 2023
- The Church of England has produced a range of liturgical resources. Find them here.
- The Racial Justice Unit is hosting a free network event for UKME/Global Majority Heritage clergy & lay ministers and leaders on 12 & 13 October 2023: ‘Being Built Together’. Find out more
- If you missed the diocesan screening earlier this year, there is an opportunity for churches to plan a watch night to see After the Flood: The Church, Slavery and Reconciliation. The 67-minute UK documentary aims to be educational and redemptive, addressing the historical neglect of slavery in British Christian history. It explores biblical principles for racial reconciliation in our churches today. Download flyer and watch online
- Find out more about Black History Month and the resources which are available.
Other ways to mark Black History Month:
- Hear the story of how Bewdley discovered black history in their town, started an anti-racism group, and produced a walking tour of the town exploring the black history.
- Watch Foluso Enwerem, former curate in the Diocese discussing how black theology can transform how we read the bible.
- Listen to Shirley from Top Church talking about her experiences of being a young black woman in 1960s Dudley and what Lenny Henry was like as a child!
- Read Ghost Ship by Azariah France-Williams and then watch Bishop Martin in Conversation with Azariah. Or listen to the Ghost Ship as an audiobook and hear the author’s voice as he shares the past and present experiences of all too many black and brown people within the Church of England: Ghost Ship Audiobook | A.D.A France-Williams | Audible.co.uk
A brief background to the Racial Justice Forum
Racial justice is an area that the Diocese has been keen to raise awareness about. It is an area with many facets and which has spanned many years, however it is the personal experiences shared and the stories that are told, that really explains the true impact of what racism means for our fellow human beings.
To help progress this work, Bishop Martin brought together a group of lay and clergy members from the ethnic minority to help guide and steer this work. The group was called MEAL which stands for Minority Ethnic Anglican Leaders. This group met together online for a few meetings and also met in person. The members used their skills and experience of working in General Synod, Deanery meetings, Law, Bishops Council, Criminal Justice System, and being a church member, to discuss and consider racism and racial justice.
In June 2022, members of the MEAL group met together to consider the future focus for the group. It was agreed that the group would benefit from the membership being increased so that it did not just include ethnic minority members. The group also felt that the name should be changed to better reflect the focus of our work ie working towards racial justice.
The result of this meeting was that the Racial Justice Forum was created. This group now includes additional members who bring a passion and interest for this area of work. We have met twice and focussed on developing material that will start with Black History Month in October but will continue to inform and share information, experiences, articles, stories, discussions as part of an ongoing journey of discernment about the lives and contributions of ethnic people within our history and Diocese. We hope you will make use of the resources and events that will be shared. The Racial Justice Forum welcomes ideas and suggestions that can help to develop this work further.
- The Church of England's report: From Lament to Action
- Read the story of Bishop Wilfred Wood, the first black Bishop in the Church of England on the Black History Month website or through this piece by Azariah France-Williams.
- Discover the black theologians that you should know about in this article by Chine McDonald.
- Read reflections from Top Church Curate, Foluso Enwerem in this article.