“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11

In autumn term 2021 St Matthew’s school leaders set out to answer the Diocese call to actively counter racial injustice.  We began this work with a series of collective worship focused on the theme of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion. At St Matthew’s School we aim high, encourage one another and have faith; it was essential to us that our Christian ethos and diverse community are at the heart of our response to the Southwark Diocese Anti-racism Charter.

The honesty and reality of the children was vital in making sure the whole school community came up with a response that everyone could commit to trying to follow.

On hearing the Diocese Anti-Racism Charter, the children shared with us how it resonated with them and brought to mind the following encouraging phrases:

  • be brave to speak up against wrong
  • consider what is right
  • change the world.

We then asked the children what these three key principles meant to them and how we could show our commitment to them. To our children, this means

  • we follow Jesus’ commandment (Matthew 22:37-39) to love God and love one another
  • we never make excuses for who we are
  • we give everybody opportunity to contribute
  • we teach ourselves to listen
  • we give everyone a chance to get ready for the future by learning about a range of people from the past that represent our diverse school community.

The children were passionate and thoughtful in their responses; so often they minister to the adults in school with their honesty, challenge and clarity of thought.

To have these helpful conversations with the children, we started with a few reflections to encourage us and prompt out thoughts:

  • I wonder what being anti-racist will mean for our school community?
  • I wonder how our children’s experiences will shape their understanding of being anti-racist?

So, in the spirit of building one another up, we encourage you to start the conversation with your children.  As you do, we pray your children will use their experiences to minister to your school communities with an understanding that will break down barriers and with the certain hope that, in the words of Sam Cooke, “A change is gonna come.”

May we actively strive to be anti-racist, may God stir up in us a thirst for justice that will help all our children to know God loves us all, just as we are, because of who we are.

Download the St Matthew’s CE Primary School, Redhill Anti-racism Charter

Find out more about the Diocese of Southwark’s Anti-Racism Charter at southwark.anglican.org/antiracism.