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Anglican Futures: Anglican Alphabet Spaghetti

Anglican Futures Anglican Alphabetti Spaghetti A dummies guide to the plethora of organisations and acronyms linked to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. I once spent some time around military personel.  Everything had its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym) right...

Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby The Good Samaritan A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway...

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) met in Synod on 18 June.  While there, they elected two suffragan bishops to aid Bishop Andy Lines in providing episcopal oversight for the overall work.  Bishop Lines also...

Pride Flags Causing Conflict at Christian School

Pride Flags Cause Conflict at Christian School Conflict has broken out in a Christian school in Oxfordshire over the display of “Pride” flags. The institution in question is Kingham Hill School.  The same Trust (Kingham Hill Trust) oversees Oak Hill College, an...

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers The Prayer Book Society, which will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary, is raising funds to put a special edition BCP into the hands of junior choristers around the nation.   The idea came to...

Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope Justin Welby Bloomsbury, 2018, new edn. 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-4729-8497-5, 322pp, £12.99) The Archbishop of Canterbury has made several notable political interventions recently, including over ‘partygate’ and the Rwanda deportation...

Birthday of Anglicanism in America

Birthday of Anglicanism in America By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins June 16, 1607 was the birthday of Anglicanism in America. On this day Captain John Smith and 104 others celebrated the Lord’s Supper when they arrived safely in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown was the...

Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

Barnabas Fund Reports Two Chibok Girls Found After 8 Years 24 June 2022 Two women, who were among hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok eight years ago, have been found. Hauwa Joseph was discovered among a group of other...

New Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

Church of Ireland News New Bishop Elected for Cashel, Ferns & Ossory The Church of Ireland diocese of Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory now has a bishop-elect.  The Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was elected to succeed the Rt Revd Michael...

Editorial: Lessons to be Learned from the American Pro-Life Movement

Editorial Lessons to be Learned from American Pro-Life Movement Friday, 24 June 2022, the Feast of St John the Baptist, will be a date which will live in infamy amongst the supporters of abortion.  On that date, the US Supreme Court, overturned the precedent set by...

Prudence Dailey – Is the Church of England really ‘institutionally racist’?

Is the Church of England really ‘institutionally racist’?
Just as the Government-appointed Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (‘the Sewell Commission’) has published its report concluding that the United Kindgom is not fundamentally a racist country, the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce has asserted that the Church of England is, indeed, institutionally racist, and that urgent changes its culture are needed.
The Sewell Commission readily acknowledged that racism exists in Britain today, and it would be surprising if racism did not also manifest itself in the Church, since the Church is made up of people, and people are sinners. ‘Institutional racism’ is, however, much more than the aggregate of individual instances of prejudice within an institution, but entails bias embedded in its very structures. How likely it is, really (an observer might wonder), that the Church of England is more racist than the country at large?
While the Sewell Commission carefully considered the evidence on whether institutional racism existed in different contexts, the Archbishops’ Taskforce appears to have started from the assumption that the Church of England is institutionally racist, and then sought anecdotal support for this conclusion. If there is systematic evidence, it is yet to be revealed: when I asked the Archbishop of York during General Synod Question Time if it might be produced, he responded with yet more anecdote.
Of course, we ought not to dismiss the bitter experiences of those who have been on the receiving end racism in a church context. The danger is, though, that by seeing those experiences through a lens of Critical Race Theory—which divides the world into oppressed and oppressors along racial lines, and is not a Christian worldview—we will make things immeasurably worse.
Take the absurd suggestion by the Archbishops’ Taskforce that all shortlists for posts within the Church should contain ‘at least one appointable UKME [UK Minority Ethnic] applicant’, with a requirement of 30% for senior appointments. Approximately 16% of the population of England is of a minority ethnic background: a large proportion of those are members of other faiths, with no immediate interest in joining the Church of England; while of those who are Christian, a significant number have ties to other denominations (including the black-led Pentecostalist churches). Furthermore, the ethnic minority population is disproportionately working-class, a demographic which the Church of England has demonstrated particular difficulty in reaching. Those responsible for recruitment will therefore be forced to scrabble around trying to find ‘UKME’ applicants to interview in order to keep up appearances: not only is this disrespectful to the candidates concerned, whose time and effort will be wasted; but also it will inevitably raise suspicions in the minds of at least some of the interviewers that those who are not white are there only to make up the numbers (even where this is not, in fact, the case).
Psychologists recognise that the phenomenon of ‘in-group preference’ is hard-wired into the human psyche at a basic level. It seems likely that this is at the root of racial prejudice; but the good news is that our understanding of who constitutes the ‘in group’ is by no means fixed. If we shine the spotlight on questions of racial identity, whether we like it or not this will be reflected in which of our fellow men we perceive as being part of the ‘in-group’ and which in the ‘out-group’. It is no surprise that, since the rise of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests over the past year or so, there has reportedly been an increase in racial tensions overall.
It does not have to be this way. As Christians, we can and must learn to close our eyes to trivial differences in ethnicity, and recognise that our ‘in-group’ is the company of all the Baptised. Or, as St Paul put it, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28).

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