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Black Lives Matter
25 May 2020 George Floyd was killed during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 note. The way he was being arrested by the police that led to his death was recorded by passers-by. A period of anger and grief followed as people asked how this could happen and what should be done to stop it happening again.
What about us? How are we going to recognise systemic racism wherever it exists and make our world a better place? If we are silent, if we say to ourselves, “This has nothing to do with me.” Then we join those who are content for things to remain the same: so what should we do?
Recognise our own
The first thing to do is to recognise that racism (or to use a less pejorative term, ethnocentricity) is not something true of supposedly wicked and cruel people but we can all be guilty. Even in our church between brothers and sisters in Christ I see people treating each other differently: favouring one group over another and looking down on others whom they imagine to be not as good as themselves. Ask yourself these questions:
Please pray for a better world, join us on Wednesdays at 10.00am, pray in your fellowship group, pray with your family, pray with your friends for a more just and tolerant world regardless of ethnicity or race.
7 June a peaceful demonstration took place on The Forest Recreation ground: one of our church members was one of the speakers and it is good that we join our voices with those who are asking for change because as Anglicans we have committed ourselves to the five marks of mission, one of which is to ‘transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation’. This is not just for some Christians it is for us all. And we follow the example of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who treated everyone the same—regardless of their ethnicity—and challenged bigotry and hatred in his radical teaching.
It would be good to keep abreast of the situation in the news and not bury our heads in the sand. Why not read a book about this issue. Naeem and I have just read Ben Lindsay’s book, ‘We Need To Talk About Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches’. It was a sobering read about the difficulties faced by black and people from minority ethnic groups in the church.
Our church vision is ‘Sharing Food. Developing Friendship. Deepening Faith’ When the lockdown is over, please invite someone of a different ethnicity to your home for a meal or if they won’t come—ask to visit them.
Remember that this is an international issue
It saddens me that the news focuses on rich countries but less developed countries that suffer from institutionalised racism are not mentioned. Let’s be aware of the wider world and fight for change across the nations. One way we can do this is to support the work of Andrew and Eunice Moody working with refugees from South Sudan in Uganda.
Rev’d Clive Burrows
‘The Church of England is undertaking a second review of files held in all dioceses and parishes to ensure that churches and church related activities are as safe as possible for children and vulnerable adults.
Known as the Past Cases Review 2, it aims to identify both good practice and institutional failings in the way that allegations of abuse have been handled in the past. It will also provide recommendations on how practice and processes can be improved.
Individuals who wish to make representations to the PCR2 process, or who need to come forward with information, or make any disclosures regarding church related abuse, are encouraged to make direct contact with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA) on 01636 817200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
However, recognising that for those with a lived experience of abuse from within the church may not feel comfortable, a dedicated telephone helpline - 0800 80 20 20 - operated independently from the church, by the NSPCC, has been set up. Anyone can use the helpline to provide information or to raise concerns regarding abuse within the Church of England; whether they are reporting issues relating to children, adults or seeking to whistle blow about poor safeguarding practice.’
No Messy church until further notice.