Church of England Reports Significant Progress in Racial Justice Efforts

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

The Church of England has released a detailed report highlighting substantial progress in promoting racial justice across its dioceses, three years after a landmark call for cultural transformation.

The report, titled "Progress on Racial Justice across the Church of England Dioceses," assesses the responses of the 42 dioceses to the recommendations from the "From Lament to Action" (FLTA) initiative. This initiative, launched by the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce in 2021 in the wake of George Floyd's murder and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, identified "decades of inaction" on racial justice and set forth 47 specific actions in areas such as participation, governance, training, education, and youth engagement.

Published by the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC), the new review showcases exemplary practices, case studies, and ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. It includes initiatives such as supporting UKME/GMH vocations and developing racial justice charters.

The report reveals that while some dioceses had long been engaged in diversity initiatives, many intensified their efforts following George Floyd’s death. For most dioceses, the focus on racial justice was sparked by the FLTA recommendations, although a few had only recently begun addressing these issues.

Significant initiatives highlighted in the report include:

  • Bath and Wells: Conducting thorough research and disseminating information on the diocese's historical ties to transatlantic slavery.
  • Birmingham: Implementing unconscious bias training over several years, refining recruitment processes, enhancing inclusion in decision-making, and establishing clear reporting mechanisms for racial incidents and disparities.
  • London: Providing comprehensive anti-racism training and racially appropriate support for clergy, alongside issuing a toolkit to ensure inclusion and diversity in parishes.

“The Diocese is making strides to establish local resources in various areas, focusing on parishes, vocations, and racial justice advocacy,” the report states.

CMEAC Chair, the Very Rev Rogers Govender, expressed optimism, saying, “There is still much to be accomplished, but I am encouraged by the examples of prayer, faith, and action detailed in this report.”

Rev Dr Sharon Prentis, Deputy Racial Justice Director for the Church of England, added, “Much remains to be done, but there are also many examples of dioceses taking the FLTA findings very seriously.”

The report underscores the Church's commitment to ongoing improvement and the importance of sustained efforts to achieve racial justice and equality within its communities.