“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.’”Acts 10: 34-36
This year would have been crazy enough as it is if Covid-19 was the only thing we had to worry about. Even those who have been lost so tragically this year have really shaken some people (Caroline Flack, Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter Gigi and Naya Rivera to name a few). But the fact that so many people still have to walk around fearing for their lives or how they will be seen and received because of the colour of their skin, religion or accent, is still a baffling thought.
Writing about this back in June, with heavy hearts after the news of George Floyd and Breyona Taylor broke, was hard enough. But the fact that another man was killed in front of his own children, after deescalating a fight only a couple of months later, is even harder. Many will say it’s an American only issue, not ours. Others will say the protests don’t and won’t work especially thanks to the vandalism and violence that often comes out of them. Many are frustrated by the fact that political correctness may have gone way too far and feel like freedom of speech is no more. And the majority will say ‘white privilege’ is far from what they have ever experienced. But in such a diverse area of London, it would be foolish of us to remain silent on this issue despite the fact that it is America’s actions that are the driving force for reopening conversations about racism, discrimination and prejudice.
We understand that the UK are not innocent, though the racism might be more subtle here, though our police aren’t armed with the weapons American police forces are and redlining isn’t an overt issue, we, the British, cannot say we do not have issues of systemic racism and discrimination to Black and all people of colour (POC).
We as a church have really thought hard about how we can approach this topic in a way that acknowledges, comforts, provides hope and doesn’t alienate. Therefore, the first thing we thought was key, was to pray for us as individuals, as a church and as a community, to be open to hearing different experiences and opinions.
Now the conversations have been started up, they cannot and should not be put back in the box or swept under the rug. Therefore over the next few weeks during September we will share different experiences in relation to the #BLM movement through our blog. But this will not just be a token gesture; beyond this we as a church are dedicated to continue to shine a light on and have these types of conversations and to continue to pray for peace and equality for all. Our ambition is that these conversations, which also lead to action, become normal for us as a community, so that we see injustices exposed and remedied.
But, first we need to pray for open hearts and minds to be receptive to those lived experiences that go against our norm or what we know, as well as the strength to be able to continue to unpick our biases and the issues that surround our community on a daily basis.
Prayer for Open Hearts & Minds:
I pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma; that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world; that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life.
I pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving; that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life; that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts; that we may learn to join in our being. Amen
Prayer for Justice:
deliver us from a world without justice
and a future without mercy;
in your mercy, establish justice,
and in your justice, remember the mercy
revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.
We understand this is a hard topic to discuss, especially as 2020 has already been such an exhausting year so far, so please join us for weekly prayers. We will be meeting for prayers 8-9pm on Wednesday nights fortnightly, from the 16th September. Zoom details can be found here. Alternatively, if you have anything in particular you’d like us to pray for, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include it in our fortnightly prayers for you.
Lastly, if you or anyone you know would like to get involved with us as a church, you can join in here, send us an email or check us out on our social platforms: