Where have all the black saints gone?

Dave HallByDave Hall

Where have all the black saints gone?

Stories of prostitutes set on fire are not the most popular of biblical narratives but we need to grasp their significance, according to Dr Sanjee Perera (pictured).

‘Many of us know the stories of aristocratic saints who lived centuries ago,’ said Sanjee, a keynote speaker during Ladies’ Day at CRE National 2019  (12pm, Thu 17 Oct), ‘but have we considered how their stories might clash with the earthy biblical narratives that speak of famine and slavery, unbending dictators, genocide and the fall of empires?’

Sanjee, a research fellow at the University of Birmingham, had to search to find stories of black women who have served and inspired the church and she will take CRE visitors ‘on a poetic journey through Victorian stained glass and alabaster angels in verdant graveyards’, to examine how goodness, holiness, beauty and virtue became synonymous with whiteness, and how this becomes a double burden for women with black and minority ethnicities.

‘In a programme of special presentations and seminars, Ladies’ Day will highlight the contributions of women in church and society, especially those who have been forgotten or neglected,’ said CRE event director Brett Pitchfork. ‘It has been 25 years since the first woman was ordained by the Church of England – and this presents us with an ideal opportunity for reflection.’

Rooted in Christian tradition and biblical values, a range of speakers and specialists will consider issues like gender stereotyping and the barriers women face in achieving their potential.

• Dr Sanjee Perera will speak on Where have all the black saints gone? (12pm, Thu 17 Oct)

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Dave Hall

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