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UK News

Senior Church leaders start racial justice taskforce, call for racism to be stamped out in church life

by Tola Mbakwe

Churches Together in England (CTE) will soon be starting a racial justice working group in the hope of making the fight against racism a permanent fixture in churches. 

The group is encouraging churches to do all they can to build trust and improve accountability between black communities, the police, civic bodies and wider community groups.

Since the death of George Floyd, the group representing many denominations, including Anglican, Pentecostal, Orthodox and Catholic churches, has been speaking with black people to get a better understanding of racism.

CTE's General Secretary Paul Goodliffe told Premier Christian News it has been a big learning experience. 

"We have learned that there is a residue of racism in nearly every institution, including churches," he said. 

"One of the things that presidents are calling for all of the churches to do is to examine their own lives, and to ensure that as much as we are able and empowered by God to do so, we eradicate racism from our churches.

"But we also have discovered that the overt racism which often is highlighted in the media is accompanied by day in and day out small examples in the lives of every black person. It's often called micro aggression. 

"We also want to address, learn from and repent of [that] and seek to establish a community in our churches and within the whole nation that sees racism as the evil for which it is."

The CTE's racial justice working group will start in September and will encourage continued action and the sharing of good practice among its 50 member churches.

In a joint statement, the presidents of the CTE said: "We encourage all churches throughout England to do all they can to build trust and improve accountability between black communities, the police, civic bodies and wider community groups.

"In particular we call upon groupings of Church Leaders throughout the nation to reach out to their black colleagues in church leadership who are currently absent from their membership, making more inclusive ecumenical leadership. 

"Our desire is that these groups will create spaces for those in authority to listen, as we have, to the powerful testimony of young black women and men as a step towards greater social cohesion."

Goodliffe told Premier racism isn't just an issue for black majority churches to tackle, but one for white majority churches to prioritise. 

He urged white church leaders to ask their black counterparts for guidance. 

"Go and find your brothers and sisters in a black majority church, talk to them and say 'we need your help'."

Listen to Premier's interview with Paul Goodliffe here: 

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