THE Archbishops of Canterbury and York have welcomed the report of the Anti-Racism Taskforce and have pledged to implement five of its recommendations immediately:
- working with the General Synod to co-opt ten ethnic-minority candidates with full voting rights;
- inviting ethnic-minority clergy as participant observers to House of Bishops meetings until there are six UKME bishops there by right;
- establishing a racial-justice commission to review and reform the Church’s working practices, and to “hold the two of us to account for our leadership in this regard”;
- working with the Archbishops’ Council to create a racial-justice directorate as part of the national church institutions, to spend the next five years ensuring the implementation of the taskforce’s recommendations; and
- again with the Archbishops’ Council, working to replace the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC) with a new standing committee to oversee the work of the new directorate.
The Archbishops have invited the Revd Dr Joel Edwards to act as the commission’s first chair.
In their response, the Archbishops write: “Racism is a sin. Of this, we have no doubt. Anything which diminishes the value and beauty of each individual person, made in the image of God, is sinful. There is no place for it in the world, and we are determined to make sure there is no room for it in the Church.
“But it is here. We have seen, time and time again, people being bullied, overlooked, undermined and excluded from the life of the Church, from the family of God. It breaks our hearts, and we are truly sorry.”
They note the lack of progress over the past 35 years. “We hope we will be the generation to halt this cycle of inaction.”
The Anglican Minority Ethnic Network (AMEN) also welcomed the report. “We are particularly pleased that the report calls for urgent action with a proposed implementation action plan that has details of what needs to be done, when it should be done, and by whom,” a statement said.
AMEN also commended the report for “highlighting racial justice as the work of the ‘whole church’ and not ‘a minority concern’. This, in our view, is an important insight with very far-reaching implications. It should discredit and remove any idea that the issue here is about doing a favour to minority ethnic people and make it clear, as the report does, that this is about the Christian imperatives of ensuring justice for all and the growth of Christ’s body.”
The statement concluded: “We hope that people across the Church of England will rise to the challenge, the call to real and urgent action presented by this report. We thank the Task Force for this courageous and actionable report. Now is the time to act, and we are all called upon to do something to move things forward.”
Read our full story on the report, and a list of the key recommendations