THE co-chair of the new anti-racism taskforce, the Revd Sonia Barron, has said that the Church of England must not just “pay lip-service” to issues of racism.
On Tuesday, the C of E announced the launch of the taskforce, which will propose actions that the Church should take to promote greater racial equality across the Church (News, 3 July). The group has nine members, among them the Archdeacon of Bristol, the Ven. Neil Warwick. Its co-chair is the Vicar of St Nicholas’s, Durham, and a former director of communications at Church House, Westminster, the Revd Arun Arora.
The work of the group will include sifting through more than 160 recommendations that already exist, most of them made by the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC) since 1985, and identifying any that have been ignored and could be implemented.
The taskforce’s recommendations will be presented to the Archbishops’ Racism Action Commission, which will be launched in Spring 2021.
Speaking on Tuesday, Ms Barron, who is director of ordinands and vocations for the diocese of Lincoln, said: “The taskforce has been set up at a critical time in the history of the Church of England, with the Black Lives Matter movement pushing racial justice right up the agenda. The Church has an opportunity that it cannot afford to miss — we cannot just pay lip-service to issues of racism as we have done for so long.”
Mr Arora spoke of more than 30 years of making recommendations and passing resolutions. “The time has now come for urgent implementation and action. The purpose of the taskforce and commission will not be to produce more reports but rather to directly address the sin of racism and those impediments that prevent the Church from fulfilling its call, so that racial justice is both done and is seen to be done.”
On Saturday, the Manchester diocesan synod carried a motion affirming that “every parish and diocese in England is an appropriate place for global majority candidates to exercise their ministry and leadership.”
It was proposed by members of the diocese of Manchester’s race, inequality and justice group, which was founded by the Archdeacon of Manchester, the Ven. Karen Lund, shortly after the murder of George Floyd in the US (News, 1 June).
The group aims to provide resources for Christians to address issues of racism in their communities, including a series of online videos, launched on Monday, titled “Let’s talk about race and the Church of England”.
“The problem of racism is real,” Archdeacon Lund said, “and we need to look both at the problem and beyond the problem in order to honour the biblical, Christ-like vision of a new heaven and a new earth consisting of all God’s people.”