Diversity is fundamental to God’s creation, a gift to be enjoyed and relished. Yet in so many of its dimensions – not least in regard to race – diversity is a gift that is challenging and complicated.
As a diocese, we commit to pursuing its benefits and tackling the barriers by ensuring ‘Growing diversity’ is part of our Transforming Church Transforming Lives framework.
The outworking of this commitment is detailed below, along with some resources, stories and contacts for advice.
The Church of England’s Racial Justice team is seeking to mobilise all Global Majority Heritage (GMH)/UK Minoritised Ethnic (UKME) clergy, ordinands and lay ministers and leaders to join an ethnocultural communications network. You can find out more and register here.
Supporting the Anti-Racism Taskforce Report
Guildford Diocese welcomes the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce Report: From Lament to Action, which was published on April 22nd 2021, on Stephen Lawrence Day. This report sets out 47 specific recommendations across five priority areas: participation, governance, training, education and young people; and it calls for urgent action to be taken to change the culture of the Church of England.
The Taskforce made it clear that without these changes the Church risks denying and disregarding the gifts of a significant part of the nation.
We are working towards taking the appropriate actions laid out in the key recommendations relevant to the diocese.
There are three current strands of work:
- creating a database to help to bring to light any aspects of racism in our processes and practices,
- identifying and naming the realities and challenges of racial discrimination in our diocese that our brothers and sisters in Christ face, and
- locating and addressing situations of contested heritage in churches buildings across our diocese.
During 2022 the group also committed to:
- develop a toolbox for parishes, deaneries and the diocese to further implement ‘From Lament to Action’ recommendations
- facilitate the creation of a diocesan wide anti-racism policy
- gather and communicate resources and opportunities through this website to promote learning and engagement.
In June 2023 the group launched:
- The Racial Justice Covenant - at least every two years, our parish leadership teams are expected to recommit themselves to the Principles of this covenant which will be reviewed during the Archdeacon’s visits.
- The Anti-Racism Toolkit - This toolkit is intended to be a web-based resource, available to all parishes and chaplaincies in the diocese. It invites us to engage with the process and reflect and act on situations and issues where there is potential for racial discrimination, to think about best practice, what is going well, what needs to be celebrated; and what needs to change. It starts with self-reflection on personal biases and ends with accountability.
Please read this page on the national Church of England website about Contested Heritage
These are some excellent books to explore and contemplate racial justice.
• Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga (available as both book and podcast)
• What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition by Emma Dabiri
• God is not a white man and other revelations by Chine McDonald
• Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation by Jennifer Harvey
• Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England by A.D.A France-Williams
• Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire by Akala
• We need to talk about Race by Ben Lindsay
• Every Tribe. Stories of Diverse saints servicing a diverse world
• Dynamic Diversity. The new humanity for the church today by Bruce Milne
• Standing Up to Racism: A lift-the-flap board book about standing together by Pragya Argarwal.
• The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism by John Barnes
• White Thinking: Behind the Mask of Racial Identity by Lilian Thuram
These thought-provoking stories may help you talk about racial justice issues with others, or simply to reflect on your own perceptions.
As a member of the Racial Justice Group for the Diocese of Guildford, Adanna longs to see the goal of equal opportunity and racial justice achieved.
She is passionate and wants to help eliminate ignorance, racial prejudice and discrimination from the Church and society, and is hopeful for the future.
A Dream’s a Dream
This is a thought-provoking and challenging reflection from the Revd Dean Pusey, Curate at Holy Trinity, Aldershot, connecting the experience of Black and Asian Minority Ethnic/Global Majority heritage background people with the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis.
Am I A Racist?
The Revd Sandra Faccini, Priest at Mickleham, faces the discomfort of her white privilege and explains how everyone can change the behaviours of unconscious bias.
A Prayer for Racial Justice
God of creation and redemption
Who created human life in all its diversity, and redeems each life in all its particularity:
Open our eyes to the beauty of your image in persons of every race
And open our hearts to repent where we fail.
Help us to speak the truth, to face our fear and to make amends.
Grant that we may walk the path of forgiveness not resentment, the road of reconciliation not bitterness, the way of healing not hatred.
Empower us to stand with those who suffer, to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice.
All for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ
A Racial Justice Focus Group, made up of lay and ordained from across the reach of the diocese, grew out of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement. The purpose of this racially-diverse group is to promote greater racial diversity within the Diocese of Guildford and its leadership, and to ensure that people from all racial backgrounds are enabled to fulfil their potential within the Body of Christ. Each member will serve on a two year term.
The national Church of England has a Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC), to help leaders consider and address Global Majority Heritage GMH/UKME issues in the Church and the wider community.
In particular, the minority ethnic mental health toolkit is worth careful consideration to help anyone understand GMH/UKME mental health better.
Who to contact
There are two advisers who are available for consultation on Global Majority Heritage (GMH)/UK Minoritised Ethnic (UKME) issues. They support the work of the Bishop’s Council and ministry across the diocese: