The Diocese of Southwark has unanimously approved an 'anti-racism charter' which promises to work to tackle racism through theological understanding and improving diversity in its churches.
The vote of the Southwark Diocesan Synod to approve the charter came at the end of a discussion on it led by The Venerable Dr Rosemarie Mallett, Archdeacon of Croydon and Diocesan Lead on Anti-Racism.
Reacting to the vote, Archdeacon Rosemarie Mallett said "We now want the Charter to take forward our programme for future action. This action must be taken at all levels, working in partnership with our parishes, our schools, our young people, our Cathedral, our Area and Diocesan Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns Committees, to ensure that racism in any form is rooted out and diversity is truly our strength. This document should be our legacy to the next generation whom we want to attend and to lead in our churches and in the Diocese."
The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, welcomed the vote and added: "Our rich ethnic diversity in this Diocese is God's gift and blessing which we celebrate. I am greatly encouraged that the Diocesan Synod voted unanimously to endorse the Anti-Racism Charter which we are committed to implementing fully. There is no place for racist attitudes and behaviours in this Diocese. The Charter will guide us as we journey forwards in faith, hope and love for the people of South London and East Surrey."
The key principles of Southwark Anti-Racism Charter are:
1. An explicit theological understanding that God's kingdom is multi-ethnic, and that it is through our baptismal covenant that we recognise and respect the dignity of every human being and our unity in Christ.
2. An intentional focus in our theological studies, liturgy, teaching, prayer, word and work to take strategic and practical actions to combat racism and inequality.
3. A clear strategy for increasing and sustaining diversity in our governance structures at Diocesan and parish level so as to ensure representation and participation of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds at all levels of our organisation.
The Diocese of Southwark serves 2.8 million people in the 16 Local Authorities of South London and East Surrey through 356 places of worship.