Racial Equality & Justice

Racial Equality & Justice

What do we mean by Black Lives Matter?

We believe that all people are created in the image of God and that their lives matter.

We desire that black people are treated as equals to white people and should receive racial equality, social and criminal justice.

We are not affiliated with either Black Live Matter USA nor the political arm of the Black Lives Matter Activist Coalitions UK associated and affiliated with USA.

Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce published its report ‘From Lament to Action’ proposing a suite of changes to begin bringing about a change of culture in the life of the Church of England:

The taskforce’s work is rooted in Christian theology, they emphasise, flowing “not from identity politics but from our identity in Christ”.

The report accepts the definition of ‘Institutional Racism’ adopted by the Macpherson report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence – covering processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination – as applying to the Church of England [see notes] and speaks of racism as a “sin” requiring repentance.

“We share together the understanding that racism is a sin,” they say. “Racial sin disfigures God’s image in each one of us. Racial sin dehumanises people by taking away their fundamental God-given human dignity. “Wherever racial sin flourishes systematically, either in society or in our church, we must challenge it together. We must repent of racial sin, turn away from racism and be reconciled, so that we may all experience the love of God.”

The report highlights the lack of people from UK minority ethnic backgrounds in senior leadership in the Church, noting that the new Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, will be the only UKME or GMH diocesan (senior) bishop in the Church of England. There are four suffragan bishops from a UKME/GMH background.

You can read more about it here.

Below are some videos on Racial justice and equality including our Vicar Ben Goodyear’s sermon for Racial Justice Sunday 2023

If we want to be a Jesus-Centred, loving and welcoming parish, we need to be proactive in seeking Racial equality & Racial Justice.

We, as the Parish of Herne Hill, are already on a journey towards racial equality and racial justice, but have a long way to go.

Below are some steps on the journey we plan to take and have taken.

  1. Pray for racial equality, racial justice & racial reconciliation.
  2. Appoint a team to make sure racial equality and racial justice in the parish are constantly being reviewed, monitored and made a priority; supporting and/or running groups, events etc in the Parish that achieve these aims.
  3. Listen to God, to one another, the community, and those who are writing or speaking about race online, in books & videos. (See helpful resources section in appendix).
  4. Keep circulating good articles, books and videos on race via WhatsApp, email & Social media
  5. Become more aware of our own biases through courses and doing tests like the free Implicit Bias Test (Click here to take the test!)
  6. Make racial equality & racial justice part of our Mission Action Plan and ask the congregations, including the young people, what they think we should do! (The Outreach team are already planning this)
  7. Circle conversations led by Sharon Crooks & Alex Mavolwane Wright. In September 2020, we are offered facilitated conversation circles for people in the church to talk and listen to each other in a safe space about racial equality and racial justice. We hope to run another one in 2021. Please do contact Sharon Crooks if you are interested.
  8. Book clubs featuring books on race and church e.g. “We Need To Talk About Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches” by Ben Lindsay and “Ghost Ship Ghost Ship” Institutional Racism and the Church of England by A.D.A France-Williams.
  9. Run the Face to Face Lent Course by Owen Hylton
  10. Support #BlackLivesMatters & other relevant campaigns through petitions, protests and banners outside church and on our website. 
  11. Partnering with others for racial justice & equality e.g. Citizens, Woolwich area MEACC group, Power the fight.
  12. Mark Racial Justice Sunday & run Black History month events & services eg international celebrations with food, musical concerts of music written by Black artists.
  13. Sermons on racial equality & justice.
  14. Interviews in our services from the BAME members of the congregation and others.
  15. Raise up more BAME leaders in all areas of church life, including service leaders & preachers, ministry team leaders, musical worship leaders and encourage BAME vocations in the Church of England.
  16. Ascertain whether any people with slavery, or slave-trade connections, have memorials in our church buildings and let the diocese know & work out what steps to take.

Will you join us on this journey? What steps would you like to add?

Resources to listen to, read, watch:

Owen Hylton, Minister of Beacon Church, who preached at St Paul’s and St Saviour’s last year on Embracing Diversity;

Why it feels so overwhelming to be black right now;

World Vision have provided some great resources to help us all end racial injustice and includes further links to the UN and UNICEF’s pages with further ways;

The Diocese has made this statement about #BlackLivesMatter;

Useful practical steps & checks on allyship provided by a parishioner’s workplace diversity committee, which can be viewed here;


Writer Tasnim Nazeer describes her experiences of “racial gaslighting” and suggests five ways to stop it;


Writer Tasnim Nazeer describes her experiences of “racial gaslighting” and suggests five ways to stop it;

Tearfund’s Black Lives Matters guide to help you respond to Racial Injustice.

What is Black History Month? Who founded it? & includes a Timeline of two millennia of world shaping individuals and events that define Black History.

‘Revival Nuggets’ podcast, which features myself and Ben Lindsay, founder of ‘Power The Fight’ and author of the book ‘We need to talk about Race’;

Really fantastic talk by Co-founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen, Mahamed Hashi, on community engagement.

Africa: A Voyage of Discovery documentaries on African history presented by Basil Davidson;

Our Vicar Ben’s Goodyear speaking out against racism following the murder of George Floyd;

Adjoa sermon on James 2.14-17 about racial equality and justice;

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man’: Emmanuel Acho;

Alton Macdonald from St Saviour’s called White Lies Matter;

We Need To Talk About Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches video;

Meditation by Alton Macdonald reading 100 Martin Luther King Quotes;

Service of lamentation & hope about racism;

Ted talk on how to be a better ally in the work place;

Alton Mcdonald has produced a really helpful video on forgiveness. You can watch it here.

If you’ve not seen it yet I can recommend on BBC iPlayer: Black and British a forgotten History. Very interesting series showing the History of Black people in Britain from the 3rd Century AD.

‘Why We Kneel, How We Rise’ by Michael Holding.;

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi ;

“We Need To Talk About Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches” by Ben Lindsay;

 “Ghost Ship Ghost Ship” Institutional Racism and the Church of England by A.D.A France-Williams;

Emmanuel Acho;

Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man (Releases in November 2020)