Bishop David reflects on the recent Bishop’s Study Day….
Dr Sanjee Perera, the Archbishops’ Adviser for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, visited Winchester Diocese last week. During her visit she facilitated a clergy study day, met with the Bishops’ staff team and both the Ministry and Education Teams. She also visited a number of our parishes. Sanjees’ visit was both joyful and challenging. It is easy for us to declare that Racial Justice lies at the heart of the Gospel and yet to fall so far short of living out that truth. June 2020 and the death of George Floyd saw the emergence of a strong voice and movement against racism – and I am particularly grateful to the leadership within ‘Basingstoke Unites Against Racism’ for their critical friendship. The national Church is seeking to respond and part of this has been the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce’s report ‘From Lament to Action’ proposing changes to begin bringing about a change of culture in the life of the Church of England.
I hope Sanjee’s visit last week will prove to have been a catalyst for our diocese’s commitment to racial justice, acknowledging that this will involve both repentance and new commitments, but also transformation within the church and community. The Lament to Action Report contains 46 recommendations to us as a Diocese. I am looking for a group to develop a Racial Justice Strategy and who will work with me in enabling these recommendations. However, the bigger challenge and adventure is around the journey we will take as a Diocese that sees diversity and inclusion as gifts of grace. Please do pray for this work and please do offer both insights and advice.