In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, which had already highlighted systemic health and social inequities putting people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk from the virus, on May 26th, mass protests erupted around the world in response to the death of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, at the hands of municipal police.
Following this potent cocktail of social, economic and political racial injustices, in the UK, a national soul-searching began, predicated on bringing social and racial justice, and dealing, it was hoped, a fatal blow to racism.
From a Christian perspective there have been many ‘virtual’ conferences, discussions, television programmes and writings seeking a viable way forward. A statement by the presidents of Churches Together in England called on all churches to address racial injustice in church and wider society. It seems everyone is searching for answers. And yet little seems to be made of the British Black Church’s contribution towards self-empowerment and self-determination aimed at self-liberation without prejudice to what ‘others’ may or may not do.
The Black Church in the 21st Century provides an exciting and fresh look at the key issues facing the Black Church Movement in Britain today, representing a bold attempt for scope and analysis. Now over 70 years old, and having experienced great success, the Black Church is facing an uncertain future as part of a context in which Christianity is itself challenged by an increasingly secular, plural society. The book shows why at a post-modern moment of competing voices and simultaneous calls for faith and cultural cohesion, the Black Church is crucial as a prophetic advocate for the Black Community. Its chapters also demonstrate that current and future social, economic and political challenges demand of the Black Church in Britain greater awareness and progressive change in both style and substance.
The authors conclude: ‘In this moment of the search for racial justice being a near-universal consciousness – a Kairos moment, we might say – this anthology deserves a re-reading. It is written by insider-practitioners who have ae keen sense of how this country’s Black Church community can play a self-authenticating corollary to the endeavours of their white sisters and brothers as they engage in their soul-searching about the racial injustices perpetrated upon Black people in and out of the Church for centuries.’
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Bishop Dr Joe Aldred is an Ecumenist, Broadcaster, Speaker and Writer. He is responsible for Pentecostal and Multicultural Relations at Churches Together in England and a Bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy. He is the author of several books and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio’s The Daily Service, Pause for Thought and Prayer for the Day.
Keno Ogbo is a writer and blogger. She is the founder of Tiny Life Moments, aimed at building a world of hope through words.