Here at Royal Docks Community Church, we want to speak out in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests. The impact of the heart-breaking recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, as well as far too many others, at the hands of our systemically racist and broken systems have highlighted the need for urgent social and spiritual revolution not just in America, but here in the UK too.
Racism and its violent impact are nothing new and we know that simply saying we support this cause now isn’t enough – but we hope it is a necessary first step at taking this opportunity to reflect (for those of us with white privilege) on our own complicity and identify ways we can learn and do better to address racial injustice within our own church family and community.
We also feel it’s important for us to stand up against the White Evangelical version of Christianity at the heart of Donald Trump’s political following. We do not recognise the radically loving gospel of Jesus Christ in this way and believe that He too would demand better from those currently in positions of power.
To our Black family and friends: We are sorry. We see your suffering and our souls cry out with yours to our good and loving God: that He would bring redemption and healing to the evil and brokenness that has cost Black people equality and often their basic human rights too. Please forgive where we as a church have unwittingly made worshipping and being in community with us less accessible to you. We are committed to learn how to go beyond just being diverse and inclusive – to being more proactive with anti-racist intention as well as confronting other forms of social injustice wherever we recognise it. If there is any way we can be of support to you in the midst of the disproportionate pandemic impact and political hostility, we want to be able to bless and serve you however we can.
To our family and friends that hold white/racial privilege: Although as individuals it’s hard to accept blame for the systemic racism we see being so destructive, by taking responsibility to dismantle the inherent white supremacy in our lives and as a social majority, we have the potential to see new facets of God’s beauty and blessing like never before. Let’s support each other with this uncomfortable but necessary process by sharing helpful resources, holding each other accountable with compassion and prioritising the needs of our non-white church family.
For those looking for suggestions of where to start: a couple of people have already purchased Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy journal prompt – with a month’s worth of personal challenges and reflections. Please let Lizi know if you’d like to be involved with a future book-club-type meet-up to share experiences of working through this. The book ‘We Need to Talk About Race: Understanding Black experience in white majority churches’ by Ben Lindsay also looks to address this same issue.
As a church, we are also contributing financially to the Minnesota Freedom Fund in the USA, and to INQUEST in the UK. We will continue to look for ways to be of practical support where we can.
Praying for blessings of safety, peace and world-transforming faith in action at this uncertain time.