On 23 February 2023, the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice released its Second Biannual Racial Justice Report. The Commission reports to the Archbishops every six months with recommendations to help the Archbishops fulfil their commitments to identify, respond to, and root out systemic racism in the Church.
Extracts from the Press Release and the associated material are reproduced below; the full membership of the Commission is here.
Archbishops’ Commission on Racial Justice releases Second Biannual Report
The Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice has released the second of its biannual Racial Justice reports.
Mandated to drive ‘significant cultural and structural change on issues of racial justice within the Church of England’, the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice (“ACRJ”), headed by The Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng, is charged with monitoring, holding to account and supporting the implementation of the forty-seven recommendations of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce which were laid out in the Taskforce’s comprehensive 2021 report From Lament to Action.
In his foreword letter to the Second Report, Lord Boateng singles out for praise the Church Commissioners for their “ground-breaking work” in the forensic audit undertaken on Queen Anne’s Bounty and its links with transatlantic chattel slavery. The Commission welcomes the £100 million of funding to deliver a programme of investment, research and engagement over the next nine years, but caveats that there is much further work to be done as this is “not the end of the story” [Slavery, p 23].
Lord Boateng welcomes the arrival in December 2022 of the Director of the Racial Justice Unit, but expresses continued disappointment at the time it has taken to establish the Unit and comments: “This has inevitably impacted negatively upon our own work and on the progress made across the Church of England in delivering on the recommendations of From Lament to Action”.
The Second Report draws particular attention to the witness heard from representatives of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Christians about the “indifference, neglect and outright hostility” at the hands of both church and state. General Synod in 2019 urged dioceses to establish a chaplain to the communities. The Commission heard that twelve such chaplains have been appointed and calls for the remaining dioceses to do likewise in ensuring the GRT community receives pastoral, advocacy and educational activities. On the latter, the Church of England’s “Leaders like us” programme will have a part to play and the programme will be scrutinized by the Commission over the course of its work [Process and Engagement, p 11].
Commenting on the Second Report, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “I am encouraged that some progress has been made, particularly in the establishment of a fully-functioning Racial Justice Unit, but there is clearly more to be done. I continue to be very grateful to Lord Boateng and the members of the Commission for Racial Justice for the essential and demanding work they are doing and will pray for them.”
Adding his thanks for the Second Report, the Archbishop of York said: “I remain saddened that the issue of racial justice has to be one of constant vigilance and questioning. The Commission’s work is vital if we are to transform the nature of our ministry and witness.”
Archbishops’ Racial Justice Commission – Agenda for change
The purpose of the Commission is to set out a compelling agenda for change, in careful gospel-driven discernment, balancing the needs of individuals, communities, and society, maximising opportunities, and ensuring fairness for all. In order to understand why disparities exist, what works and what does not, the Commission is listening and learning from processes of participative engagement, and is considering detailed quantitative data and qualitative evidence, commissioning new research and inviting submissions where necessary and engaging with stakeholders and conversation partners across and beyond the Church.
The Commission is reporting to the Archbishops every six months during the three-year period 2021-2023, with recommendations to help the Archbishops fulfil their commitments to identify, respond to, and root out systemic racism in the Church, and our first report [First Biannual Report (Spring 2022)] is available below.
Commenting on the first Report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, said: “We strongly welcome the first report of the Commission on Racial Justice and the clear, independent scrutiny it provides. I am very grateful to Lord Boateng and his Commission members for the work they have done so far. This report identifies the difficult and long path to eradicating the pain and injustice felt by so many, but provides us with hope that through the Commission’s work, these issues will be addressed.”
The Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell added: “We are encouraged to see the work of the Commission in challenging current practice and stimulating culture change in the Church of England. It is important for us to engage with these ideas and continue to build both support and action. This reminds us that justice lies at the heart of the Gospels and it is our hope that the whole Church will be inspired to commit in earnest to this transformation.”
Second Biannual Report of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice
In this, the second of the six reports the ACRJ will produce, we have reported on the work of the seven workstreams since the publication of the Spring 2022 report and on the progress of work on the five priority areas and the forty-seven recommendations identified in From Lament to Action.
Process and Engagement
“…In October, the Dean of Arches provided a very comprehensive overview on the Consistory Court system and William Nye, Secretary General to the Archbishops’ Council, gave an update on resourcing for the Racial Justice Unit, and an overview of progress on From Lament to Action…”
“In addition the Commission has taken receipt of a number of representations since its first report. Most notably it has received:
- A detailed paper by the Church Buildings Council and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England;
- Representations from the Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, about reflections on the Rustat case; and
- A letter from the Chair of the Ecclesiastical Judges Association in response to the Commission’s First Report.”
Pingback: کمیسیون عدالت نژادی: دومین گزارش دوسالانه - ganjine-roshan