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UK News

Evangelical Alliance says church needs to speak up about BAME deaths from Covid-19

by Cara Bentley

The Evangelical Alliance, which represents two million evangelical Christians in the UK, has said the tragedy felt by some churches from Covid-19 needs to be acknowledged by the whole church. 

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that people from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds are significantly more at risk from coronavirus than white people. 

Black males are 4.2 times more likely to die from a Covid-19-related death and black females are 4.3 times more likely than white ethnicity males and females.

Some of this is down to social factors and there was a less stark divide when economic and other health conditions were taken out of the equation (highlighting other inequalities). A significant difference in risk also remains unexplained. 

The Evangelical Alliance (EA) has said this disparity needs to be talked about and churches must help each other out even if doesn't affect their community. 

Rev Yemi Adedeji, head of the One People Commission (a group of church leaders encouraging unity between different ethnicities in the EA) told Premier: "People don't know what to say or how to address it. But we are standing very strong that this is the church's position: we are to be an advocate for when there's a situation like this. 

"It's not right, and it's not fair and it's not the right thing to do if we all keep quiet." 

Rev Yemi gave examples of what some church families are facing: "If 94% of doctors who have died after Coronavirus are from a BAME background, that is not right. If a high percentage of the ethnic groups are systematically over represented at lower levels of the NHS, that is not right."

Speaking alongside Rev Yemi, Gavin Calver CEO of the EA told Premier: "25% of evangelicals in the UK are from a BAME background and if that community is disproportionately impacted by this Coronavirus epidemic, we need to be saying and standing together to say: we pray together, we stand together, we mourn together. 

"The great myth of our day is this Coronavirus is a leveller; it's not a leveller. It has a disproportionate impact on other communities - like the poor and other places too. We stand with one another and if one part of the Christian family hurts, we all hurt."

Calver, who also leads Spring Harvest, gave practical advice to those who are not seeing the same kind of community damage: "I would encourage my fellow white Christian leaders to also notice what's going on and to stand up and speak up and say 'No, this is the same family'. 

"We're looking for people to say 'What can I do? How do I stand together?' and to extend the arm of friendship. It would go an awful long way for some church leaders to ring another church leader and say 'You know what? This may be affecting you more greatly than me, how can we help? How can we support? How can we stand together?' A crisis is a moment for unity."

Read tributes here to three Christians from BAME backgrounds who died from coronavirus. 

Christian care home worker who planned to be reunited with Filipino family dies in UK from coronavirus

'Committed Christian' and science teacher dies from Covid-19

‘Gifted’ eye doctor and pastor dies with Covid-19 after warning others to take it seriously



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