Anti racism taskforce report welcomed by Bishop Ruth

22nd April 2021

The report  published today by the Anti Racism Taskforce on racism in the Church of England has been welcomed by Bishop Ruth.

She joins the Archbishops of the Church of England in pledging to be the generation to halt the cycle of inaction in the church on racism.

The report was commissioned last year in order to understand what progress has been made towards tackling racism. It is clear from its finding that despite many promises in previous years, little has been done.

Bishop Ruth said: “We acknowledge that we have failed. Despite warm words for many years, there has been too little action and too often there have been examples of our brothers and sister being marginalised, abused and left voiceless.  I welcome the recommendations in this report.

“I am working closely with my UKME colleagues in the diocese to learn from them how we must act to free the voices of those who have been overlooked and ignored, and listen and learn from their experiences and expertise.

“We will do more to include people of colour in our representative bodies, including Bishops’ Council and Diocesan Synod, so we can hear from all those in our communities and bring about change in response to that learning. We are also working to encourage UKME candidates to follow a call to ministry in this diocese.

“We pray for the wisdom, courage and grace to be leaders who will bring about real change.”

Rev Narinder Tegally is Lead Chaplain of the Spiritual Care Centre at the Royal United Bath NHS Foundation Trust, the Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands for the diocese and also sits on the national minority ethnic vocations advisory group, which is working to empower minority ethnic communities to think about their vocation.

She said: “Firstly, before we can encourage vocations we need to welcome and accept and love every human being. I have been to many churches where I have just been ignored. And I have been on baptism visits where people see my colour first,  not my collar.”

She experienced racism growing up in the UK and said she had been sidelined for promotion both in the church and in nursing. Bath and Wells was one of the few dioceses where she had felt “affirmed” she said.

“My faith journey, my journey as a human being, has been one of pain and sorrow but also one of hope – hope that for my grandchildren things may be different. We all need to take responsibility for change.”

David Maggs, who heads up the social justice team for the Diocese of Bath and Wells said: “This is an issue for all us across the diocese not just for UKME members, senior staff and central bodies. We all need to take responsibility to challenge overt and implicit racism. We all can ask ‘How can I make a difference?’”