With the issue of reparations high on the political agenda, a group of Christians from Jamaica arrive in the UK on June 16 to meet fellow church leaders to discuss restorative justice. They will share why church denominations involved in the transatlantic slave trade should consider making financial restitution to black communities still experiencing the harmful effects of enslavement and hear what UK churches have to say on the subject.
All members of the Jamaican delegation belong to the Church Reparation Action Forum (CRAF), founded in 2019 to be the voice of the church in Jamaica on reparations.
Pastor Bruce Fletcher, CEO of Operation Save Jamaica and co-founder of the CRAF said,
Our conversations about reparations in Jamaica were highlighted with the brutal murder of George Floyd in the US in 2020. It helped focus discussion on the racial injustice black people throughout the world experienced and assisted with the demand for reparations.
He continued, “A number of reports have highlighted the financial contribution enslaved Africans made to the world economy during the Atlantic slave trade for which they received nothing. It’s now time for businesses and church denominations that benefitted from the slave trade to make reparation to their descendants. It’s CRAF’s hope that whilst in Britain, we will move the case for reparations forward, and that the church will understand the part they have to play.
Revd. Dr Gordon Cowans, co-founder of CRAF stated: “It’s important to note that reparation is not just about making financial restitution. It entails Christians also seeking to redress the emotional and psychological harm enslavement caused within black communities.”
During their time in the UK, the delegation will meet with representatives from various church denominations and organisations including The Quakers, Churches Together in England, the Evangelical Alliance, the Church of England, the New Testament Church of God, and the National Church Leaders Forum.
The delegation will also be the guests of honour at a specially organised breakfast in Croydon, where they will be meet church and civic leaders, be present at the 75th anniversary service at Southwark Cathedral commemorating the arrival of HMS Windrush in 1948 and the contribution of the Windrush Generation to British society and meet with key church ministers and community leaders in Birmingham and take part in a discussion about reparations on social media.
This reparations tour is being organised by Street Pastor’s founder Rev Les Isaac, Professor Robert Beckford, Theologian, Public Intellectual, and Professor of Racial and Climate Justice, Dr Jackie McCleod and Bishop Tedroy Powell, Leader of black Pentecostal denomination, Church of God of Prophecy.
Rev Isaac said, ‘It’s time for the UK church across the denominational spectrum to have an honest, open and meaningful discussion about reparations. This tour will play a part in that process.”