The Church of England will not appoint racial justice officers in every diocese

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The Church of England (Photo: Facebook / Church of England)

The Co-Chair of the Church of England’s Anti-Racism Task Force told the General Synod that she was “deeply shocked” that the Council of Archbishops had decided to fund racist judicial officers for each of the Church’s 42 dioceses.

The Archbishop of York said it was unable to take on board the recommendation of a landmark report on racism in the Church of England earlier this year due to the ongoing cuts.

Task Force Co-Chair, Rev. Sonia Barron, expressed her dissatisfaction in an update from the General Synod on the Church’s new Racial Justice Commission.

Speaking to the governing body of the CofE, which met online for its four-day July meetings, she said, “Before I make my prepared presentation, the members of the General Synod will know from the questionnaire that the Council of Archbishops made the decision, our recommendation appointing full-time officers for the racial justice of the diocese.

“I am deeply shocked and disappointed by this decision and I know that the other members of the task force will share these views. As a task force we continue to hope that the council, together with the church commissioners and the House of Bishops, can still reconsider this decision. ”, Which is rightly prioritized, and finance the work of racial justice.

“As I said before directly to the Archbishop’s Council: If not now, then when?” added Rev Barron, who is the director of ordiners and vocations for the Diocese of Lincoln and a past adviser to the Church’s Committee on Ethnic Anglican Minorities.

The position of the archbishops was confirmed in a written response published prior to the synod session to a question from Debra Walker, a lay member of the Diocese of Liverpool, asking “what progress has been made in releasing funds for the appointment of racial justice officials “.

In response, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said: “The Council of Archbishops has come to the conclusion that it cannot currently endorse this recommendation as it is worded because of the need to reduce costs in diocesan and national administration.

“The Council understands the rationale for this recommendation and will work more on how best to promote racial justice across the country through a network of officials who are appropriate for different contexts.”

Archbishop Cottrell announced to the bi-annual synod that Lord Paul Boateng, the UK’s first black cabinet minister, had accepted the “challenging role” of chairing the new Racial Justice Commission established in response to the report by the Anti-Racism Taskforce. From Lament to Action ”, published in April.

Lord Boateng became Chief Secretary of the Treasury in the Tony Blair-led Labor government in 2002. He later served as the UK High Commissioner in South Africa and became a member of the House of Lords in 2010.

The new 12-person commission, whose names will be announced in the next few weeks, will serve for three years. Its mandate is to prepare two reports each year for the Council of Archbishops and the House of Bishops.

Archbishop Cottrell told the Synod that the appointments to the new commission stem from pledges he and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made “to take action that could identify, respond to and eradicate systemic racism in the Church “.

He said: “The commission will be an independent body representing complex interests and expertise inside and outside the Church.

“This collective of clergy and laypeople will bring a wealth of experience meeting the demands of the assignments and expertise and activism in programs for racial justice and black theology, ecclesiology and liturgy, education and theological education, history and politics, and a variety of other areas that the Church of England could rely on in trying to identify an agenda for church transformation. “

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