We Are One Church
The Journey towards Racial Justice
We live in a country and in a world in which racism, prejudice and systemic discrimination is an everyday reality for people of colour, and in particular black people. Sometimes racism can be subtle and unconscious. Other times, it’s impossible to miss – as we saw in the horrific killing of George Floyd and others in the summer of 2020.
The world has many valuable things to say about how to understand and overcome the tragedy of racism (check out the resources at the bottom of the page). But what is the role of the Church in playing our part in bringing about racial reconciliation, healing and justice?
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26-27
The Importance of Lament
Jesus lived and taught a life of love. There is no room in his Gospel for discrimination of any kind. Sadly, this has often not been reflected in the history of the global Church. And if we are honest with ourselves, it hasn’t always been reflected in our lives either.
We are his Church, the body of Christ, and when one part of the body hurts, this grieves the whole. Perhaps the first step towards racial healing and justice is simply to acknowledge that as individuals and as a Church, we have fallen short of the holiness and perfect love of God.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”
The Hope of the World
Thankfully, the Church isn’t the hope of the world – Jesus is! He is with us every step of this journey as we work to see this picture from Revelation come into being. We know that we have a long way to go and that the journey is ongoing – we haven’t arrived, we’ve only just begun. So we want to posture our hearts to listen, learn, and grow as we take active steps towards becoming a multi-cultural, multi-racial community in which everyone truly feels that they belong. We want V61 to be a home for all, in which our services, leaders, worship, and everything else reflects this commitment to creating a culture of belonging.
We want to invite you to join us on this journey. Don’t be afraid of the uncomfortable questions. Don’t look away. Instead, be part of the conversation and be part of the change as, together, we pursue racial justice and healing in the Church and in the world.
Conversations at V61
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
How to Pray for Justice
1. Inform yourself on the issue. This will stir up your compassion as well as help you to pray specifically
2. Invite God into your prayer time. “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” – Karl Barth
3. Use a prayer guide – like this one from 24/7 Prayer
For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12:13
We Want to Hear from You
We don’t have the answers, but we want to carry on the conversations. If you have a story, experience, or something creative to share which you think will add to the conversation, or any recommended resources, we’d love to hear from you.
We Need To Talk About Race by Ben Lindsay
Is God Colour-Blind?: Insights From Black Theology For Christian Ministry by Anthony G. Reddie
Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England by A.D.A France-Williams
Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation by Mark Vroegop
Multicultural Kingdom: Ethnic Diversity, Mission and the Church by Harvey Kwiyani
Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain by Peter Fryer
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Overcoming Everyday Racism by Susan Cousins
Documentaries, Films & Videos
COVID 19, Disproportionate BAME Impact and the White Led Church Response
A Discussion on Racism – Carl Lentz & Bishop T.D. Jakes from Hillsong
13th on Netflix
Time: The Kalief Browder Story on Netflix
When They See Us on Netflix
A Conversation on Race and Restoration in the Body of Christ – Christine Caine & Dr Anita Phillips
Code Switch – NPR
About Race – Reno Eddo Lodge
Augustine Tanner-Ihm on racial inequality in the C of E