06 July 2016
Racism has no place in our communities, say ethnic minority church leaders
The Evangelical Alliance's One People Commission (OPC) - a body of key national church leaders from across ethnic minorities - has urged the Church to promote unity in diversity following a five-fold increase in racial abuse in the wake of the EU referendum.
Last week, the National Police Chief Council reported the number of complaints filed to police online hate-crime reporting site True Vision has risen to 331 since last Thursday – compared to a weekly average of 63 prior to the referendum.
Commenting on the increase, Yemi Adedeji, director of the One People Commission, said: "We the Church must never allow racism to become acceptable in our society. We believe in a God in whose image we are all made. As members of migrant communities who now call the UK home and are proud to be British, we will endeavour to ensure the UK celebrates diversity as it always has done.
"This is not about empty words. At the One People Commission, we see it as our mission to celebrate the diversity that exists across the UK Church and strive to be a picture of what it looks like when walls are broken down between ethnic groups in our nations. We practically demonstrate our unity through forging strong relationships with each other – bringing key leaders together from African, Caribbean, Chinese, South Asian, Korean and South American churches. We are heartbroken when we see examples of the overt racial abuse that we thought had been consigned to history flaring up in our communities."
Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, added: "At the Evangelical Alliance, our mission is for the Church to be united: one people, one voice, one hope. That's why we started the One People Commission in 2011. We recognised that often the Church on Sunday mornings divided across ethnic lines. But we strongly believe that the future of the UK Church is multi-ethnic, not monochrome.
"As strong relationships have been forged among key national church leaders from across our wonderfully diverse Church community through the OPC, we are utterly dismayed to see a rise in racial abuse on our streets. Racism of any kind has no place in our nations and no place in God's kingdom. Our prayer is that the Church will be emboldened to stand up against this racism and pray for healing and reconciliation in our communities following the referendum."
The One People Commission is a body of the Evangelical Alliance made up of key national church leaders, committed to celebrating ethnicity, while promoting unity within the UK evangelical Church.
Take a look at our unity video, featuring members of our One People Commission talking about the importance of unity and working together.
After the 2014 referendum in Scotland the Evangelical Alliance produced a short booklet, written by Rev Gordon Kennedy, to help the Church engage in the crucial work of reconciliation. In light of the referendum result, the Alliance is reissuing this text in firm view that this work is more vital than ever.
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.