Church Congregations Around the UK Are Raising their Voices on Racial Justice

The singer/songwriter has teamed up with international development agency Christian Aid to come up with the single ‘Everything is Yours’, as part of an initiative to raise the profile of black Christians in the climate justice movement.

The organisation’s Black Majority Church Climate Action Group worked with Jake on the project in an innovative bid to create a rallying call within worship music for black Christians keen for their churches to take action on the climate crisis.

Jake, from London, began playing drums at the age of three and taught himself piano and bass guitar. By the age of 16 he had completed grade eight drums and had begun teaching the instrument. When he was 19, he began to make a living as a part-time session musician playing drums and bass on jazz and rock records for international artists, including Grammy-award winner Duffy.

Marketing manager by day, songwriter and session musician by night, Jake began working with artists such as Gabrielle and boy band Blue before trying his hand at writing his own songs. He ended up signing to Sir Elton John’s Rocket Music label, and has since worked with Sting, Paloma Faith, and Elton John himself.

Jake said teaming up with the Christian Aid Climate Action Group was an honour: “Writing about justice should never go out of fashion! It was a total privilege to be asked to write this song.”

The action group is made up of black theologians, faith leaders and activists from the UK and global south.

It was formed after Christian Aid commissioned the Black Lives Matter Everywhere report, which highlighted how climate change, although something which affects everyone, is a deeply racialised phenomenon.

People in Africa, the Caribbean, India and other parts of the global south are facing the brunt of the impacts. And yet, in the UK, 50 per cent of black Christians think the environmental movement isn’t racially diverse enough, and are keen for their churches to stand up for justice.

Since the report, senior church leaders and climate activists from black majority churches have been working on a range of resources providing insights into the distinctive contributions of diverse voices on climate justice.

Reverend Ronald Nathan, from the action group, explained how Colossians 3:16 tells us ‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.’

He added:

We believe that being Christian and loving one another means caring for all of God’s creation and advocating for a better quality of life for everyone.

In this same vein, Gospel music in the black church tradition has consistently presented societal liberation as Good News for all. Following this heritage, we hope that ‘Everything Is Yours’ will encourage Christians to reflect on this unbreakable relationship: love of God, love of people and creation care.

Richard Reddie, Director of Justice and Inclusion at Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, said Racial Justice Sunday is the ideal occasion to launch a song addressing the importance of justice in our world.

He added:

There are inextricable links between ‘racial inequality’ and the ‘climate emergency’, and Jake Isaac’s powerful song calls for justice for those most affected by both. I hope ‘Everything is Yours’ becomes a paean for our times;  a worship song that urges all Christians to do the right thing on these justice-related matters.

On Racial Justice Sunday, February 11, Christian Aid is hoping as many congregations as possible will join in singing ‘Everything is Yours’ to help start the conversation about black Christians taking their place in the campaign for climate justice.

To find out more, visit Christian Aid website and search Racial Justice.

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