At General Synod in February, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about the Church of England as ‘deeply institutionally racist’. The murder of George Floyd in May was a catalyst for examination and exposure of racism around the world. For our part, we recognise that Anglican evangelicalism in the UK has long been dominated by white, middle-class people, and that Church Society should be working against the racism and other prejudices which perpetuate this.
For this issue of Crossway, therefore, we invited contributions from a range of black and other minority ethnic authors to help us better see our problems and prejudices, and to offer some ways forward. We received more contributions than we had space to print, and these additional contributions will be published here on the blog in coming weeks, along with extracts from the printed edition and other related material. Each writer has shared something of their own experience, showing the reality of racism in our society and in our churches. They do not always agree on the appropriate responses – life is complicated, and as the book of Proverbs teaches us, wisdom comes in knowing how to apply principles to particular situations in different ways. I pray that reading and reflecting on this edition of Crossway will help us all to become wiser.
Niv Lobo examines some possible reasons why we don’t address the problem of racism in our churches. Oyin Oladipo pleads with us to recognise the racism experienced by black people in our society and our churches and offers some ways we can act against it. Martin Davy interviews his parents, who both moved to the UK from Jamaica at a young age, about their experiences in the church in the past and in the present. Ro Mody shows how the Bible itself bears witness to systemic racism and calls conservative evangelicals to action. Foluso Enwerem compares today’s church with the kingdom of God and is filled with godly sorrow as a result. Finally, Aneal Appadoo reflects on his own experience of responding to racism, and suggests a better way, filled with grace.
A complex and deeply embedded problem such as this will not be quickly or easily rooted out, and we are committed to ongoing examination of our own attitudes and activities, as well as encouraging and equipping churches and ministers to do the same.