Racism and equality in the Church

    The Good News Feed
    20 July 2020

    Racism and equality in the Church - Bishop Tim in conversation with the Reverend Canon Yemi Adedeji, Director of the One People Commission at the Evangelical Alliance.

    Following the recent death of George Floyd in Minnesota, USA, protests and debates about institutional racism, colonialism, and the historic links the UK has with slavery have been seen across the media.

    Bishop Tim spoke with the Reverend Canon Yemi Adedeji, former colleague at CMS, about his experience as a Nigerian Christian working in the church and living in the UK with his wife, Simi and their two daughters, and how the national and local church in Winchester Diocese can take action towards achieving greater ethnic diversity and integration.

    Canon Yemi works for the Evangelical Alliance as the Director of the One People Commission, a group of key national church leaders across ethnic backgrounds celebrating diversity and promoting unity. He is an ordained Anglican priest, Canon Commissary and a Pentecostal pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Jesus House, London.He is also the author of the book - The [Im]possible Dream: Believing for an integrated, ethnically diverse church. It explores the diversity within the church and aims to help Christian leaders work towards better ethnic integration within churches, organisations and communities.

    Bishop Tim and Canon Yemi discuss the need for change across all parts of society including the Church, and how Christians can approach this: “to create change we need to start with the individual… We must ask God to help us look at our own hearts and minds, to see others as created in the image of God, to bring us on an equal level and to finish the race together.”

    Canon Yemi explains the differences and connections between diversity, inclusion and integration and a need for relatable and aspirational leadership to support others to move forwards: “God loves diversity and we must see each other to be important…this requires an intentional strategy to bring people on to the road with others.” He describes the barriers he has faced being a “minority within a majority” in different leadership positions and the importance of equal opportunities for engagement and participation that extends beyond inclusion.

    Bishop Tim highlights the challenge facing the Winchester Diocese to increase the opportunities available for BAME people within the region where about 92% of the population are White British. Bishop Tim emphasises the significance of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s new task force, the Racism Action Commission, in providing accountability for dioceses and championing real change against racism in the Church.

    Bishop Tim and Canon Yemi also discuss the significance of global Companion Links and how the Winchester Diocese can engage collectively with Christian brothers and sisters in Anglican Provinces across the world to learn more about the impact of ethnic privilege, colonialism and racism and how relationships with these Provinces can help reshape what the church looks like in Winchester Diocese through repentance, new vision and practical changes.

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