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Church of England urged to consider if it’s ‘institutionally racist’

by Tola Mbakwe

A clergyman has said the idea of institutional racism in the Church of England should be investigated.  

“Some say the church is institutionally racist, some say it isn't. Might an independent person be asked to carry out to report into this question to help us to identify the problem?” said Rev Andrew Moughtin-Mumby.

At next month’s General Synod meeting, which is a gathering church’s governing body, Rev Moughtin-Mumby will propose a motion to address how the Windrush generation was treated by the Church.

Synod members will be asked to “lament, on behalf of Christ's Church, the conscious and unconscious racism experienced by countless (BAME) Anglicans in 1948 and subsequent years, when seeking to find a spiritual home in their local Church of England parish churches, the memory of which is still painful to committed Anglicans who, in spite of this racism from clergy and others, have remained faithful to the Church of England and their Anglican heritage.”

On Friday Rev Moughtin-Mumby shared the story of Doreen Browne, who said in 1961 her mother “was barred from even entering the parish church of St Peter, Walworth, due to the plain fact of the colour of her black skin”.

He added: “She found a home in a nearby parish church. But we do know that many people did not find a home and simply left the Church of England, a scandal for us.

“And this isn't just in the Church’s is past. Just a couple of years ago, a black woman in parish church in London said to me, they're very happy to ask us to cook the food, but not to join the PCC or be the church warden. We must name this as racism.”

The clergyman also cited low BAME representation in senior leadership in the Church as a reason to “admit that the church is in some ways institutionally racist because we have not managed to create a space in which everyone can flourish."

When Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York retires in June, it will leave just three BAME bishops in the Church. 

The motion will also ask Synod members to express gratitude to God for the contribution of BAME Anglicans and the Windrush Generation.

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