Denial and delay on racism in churches ‘must not go unchallenged’

ByDave Hall

Denial and delay on racism in churches ‘must not go unchallenged’

The Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice has published the first of six reports on how to implement cultural and structural change within the Church of England – and its chair, Lord Paul Boateng, will be at CRE National 2022 to discuss the project to date.

In a foreword, Lord Boateng said it was a painful process as the examination of racism was often met with denial and delay, which ‘must not go unchallenged’. The commission is asking for a minimum of £20 million to be set aside to deliver the 47 recommendations of the earlier taskforce report From Lament to Action, adding that it was disappointing ‘how little thought has seemingly gone into utilising existing funding streams’.

A meeting of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice

It is also advocating fundamental change to the process for removing statues and memorials associated with the slave trade. It says the guidance is inadequate and incomplete and does not give sufficient consideration to the communities impacted, or the authorities in charge of the buildings. The consistory court process is too expensive and the chancellors/judges should be drawn from a more ethnically-diverse pool and receive diversity training.  The commission expects each diocese to develop a racial justice strategy by the end of the financial year.

Welcoming the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Rev Justin Welby said: ‘It identifies the difficult and long path to eradicating the pain and injustice felt by so many but provides us with hope that, through the commission’s work, these issues will be addressed.’

Roy Francis, who will join Lord Boateng at CRE National to consider the commission and the Windrush legacy, said: ‘This initial report is timely and lays before us some of the issues the church and society must seriously confront. It offers some immediate, practical and workable solutions and I look forward to hearing Lord Boateng when he speaks on the commission’s findings at CRE in October.’

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