The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce has today published its report ‘From Lament to Action’ proposing a suite of changes to begin bringing about a change of culture in the life of the Church of England.
It issues a warning to the Archbishops that a failure to act could be a “last straw” for many people of UK Minority Ethnic (UKME) or Global Majority Heritage (GMH) backgrounds with “devastating effects” on the future of the Church.
The report sets out 47 specific actions for different arms of the Church of England to implement across five priority areas: participation, governance, training, education and young people. Without these changes the Church risks denying and disregarding the gifts of a significant part of the nation, the Taskforce makes clear:
“This is the culture change that is required if the Church is to live up to its mandate of being a body where all the gifts of all its people flourish to the full, for the benefit of the church as a whole, the nation of England and the greater glory of God. Decades of inaction carry consequences and this inaction must be owned by the whole Church. 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.”
Bishops John and Martin have welcomed this report saying:
“We welcome this report in helping us recognise that racism still exists in the Church of England and for giving practical ways in which we can make a real change to ensure UKME/ GMH Anglicans can flourish in their life and ministry. At a recent Diocesan Synod, we looked at how we could ensure our leadership and governance structures are properly representative of our diocese and pledged to notice racist assumptions and challenge racist behaviour. We’ve still got a long way to go, but it is important that we take proactive steps to ensure racial justice is owned by the whole Church.”
The nine-strong task force was set up in autumn 2020 with a double remit:
- to review previous reports relating to racial justice over 36 years and whether their recommendations have been implemented
- to prepare the ground for the establishment a longer-term Commission on Racial Justice, suggest terms of reference and remit for its work.
At a meeting of the bishops in the West Midlands today, they issued this joint statement:
"Racism has no place in the Church of England, but we must face the fact that it still exists. As West Midlands bishops, meeting on Stephen Lawrence Day, we strongly affirm the work of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Task Force and the report 'From Lament to Action' issued today. We acknowledge our part in past and present failures, and recognise the challenges it presents. We wholeheartedly support its recommendations, and look forward to taking them forward with energy and determination."
From the Bishops of Birmingham, Coventry, Gloucester, Hereford, Lichfield, Worcester, Aston, Dudley, Shrewsbury, Stafford, Tewkesbury, Warwick, and Wolverhampton.
- Read more about the report
- Read the Archbishop of York's Presidential Address to General Synod on this subject