As we come to the end of Black History ‘month’ which we no longer want to keep as a month alone – we reflected as a PCC yesterday that this had been, for some reason, a more difficult year to know how to Celebrate Black History. We listened to the church community and in 2020 we had started to re-educate ourselves about historical slavery and its continuing legacy – this year people wanted to start somewhere else and to remember and celebrate the life we have together now.
To ensure that Black History was integrated at every level in our church and inclusion practised so that what we preach and learn deals systematically with the blindspots, or hidden agendas which exist. We have had music workshops, international food celebrations, and preaching reminding us of the contributions of those who have come to the UK over hundreds of years: celebrating the life we have together now; being the diverse and representative Body of Christ and finally thinking about our Diocese as an inclusive and eco-minded community of faith.
But I have been left with the feeling we can do more – more often, and this is widely shared in the church community.
At the PCC some time ago we decided that we would have a permanent item on our agenda which looks at inclusion and whether or not we are representing authentically the community in the pews in the offering of worship.
Yesterday that item got a little bit heated as we started to reflect on intention and what we hope to be as a community in practice – but wonderfully it has resulted in two members of the PCC arranging a time to meet and to learn from one another’s perspectives. Can we ask for any more than two people deciding it’s important to meet, to talk and to listen and to learn from each other?
This perhaps, is the greatest legacy of the last couple of years outside of some of the confusion about historical accuracy that some of us struggle with. The sense that we want to work hard at being a people who reflect in our daily lives what we believe in our Faith.
This month we have celebrated Black History and Culture – looking to these coming days and months we want to celebrate being an integrated and authentic people of God who celebrate our being one people without prejudice or racist intent towards another person.
Has it been a successful month? We will only know this by growing together in love, faith and friendship.
Find more information and resources at southwark.anglican.org/antiracism.