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“It's time to name racism as a sin”: Church of England launch anti-racism taskforce

by Kelly Valencia

The Church of England has launched a new anti-racism task force to address racial injustice within the organisation.

It comes after rising concerns earlier this year about insufficient progress made towards racial justice, equality and inclusion.

Revd Arun Arora is a co-chair of the task force and told Premier that the Church can be an example for wider society.

“I think what this moment represents is the time to name racism as a sin…to say that the Church can be a community of hope that shows the way forward, not only in its own communities but also to provide a voice for wider society on anti-racism.”

The nine-member group will focus on creating a timetable to carry out more than 160 recommendations that have been made to the Church of England since 1985.

“The purpose of the task force is to say 'We are not here to write another report, we are here to consider why out of the hundred and 60 plus recommendations that have come out since that time have not been acted upon? Why has there been a lack of impetus for the church in this?'” Revd Arora added.

The taskforce will pave the way for the Archbishops’ Racism Action Commission that will be created in spring next year.

Revd Arora explained that part of the task force´s job is also to advise and guide the Archbishop’s Commission, which will focus on more in-depth issues.

“The commission will take a much wider [stance] on weightier issues, such as structural issues within the church, cultural issues within the church that prevent the full flourishing of all of God's people. [It will] also look at issues associated with that - slavery, memorials, some of the wider issues that have come up over the past year.”

Currently, there are five serving bishops from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds in the Church of England. But there are no diocesan bishops (senior bishops) from BAME backgrounds, following the retirement of the former Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

The task force had its first meeting on Tuesday with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the recently appointed interim National Advisor Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, Rev Canon Dr Chigor Chike. The task force will be disbanded in January.

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