From Lament to Action - the Archbishops' Anti-Racism Taskforce report

The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce has today published its report ‘From Lament to Action’ proposing a suite of changes to begin bringing about a change of culture in the life of the Church of England.

It issues a warning to the Archbishops that a failure to act could be a “last straw” for many people of UK Minority Ethnic (UKME) or Global Majority Heritage (GMH) backgrounds with “devastating effects” on the future of the Church.

The report sets out 47 specific actions for different arms of the Church of England to implement across five priority areas: participation, governance, training, education and young people.

Without these changes the Church risks denying and disregarding the gifts of a significant part of the nation, the Taskforce makes clear.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said in response to the report:

“Racism is a sin. Of this, we have no doubt. Anything which diminishes the value and beauty of each individual person, made in the image of God, is sinful. There is no place for it in the world, and we are determined to make sure there is no room for it in the Church.

But it is here. We have seen, time and time again, people being bullied, overlooked, undermined and excluded from the life of the Church, from the family of God. It breaks our hearts, and we are truly sorry.

We welcome this report from the Anti-Racism Taskforce, which we commissioned last year to help us understand what progress we might have made towards tackling racism in the Church of England. Having scrutinised reports and recommendations from the last 35 years, the Taskforce have identified many things which must change; things which have been called for before and have not been done.

 We hope we will be the generation to halt this cycle of inaction. We pray for the wisdom, courage and grace to be leaders who will bring real change.”

The Church of England Bishops in the West Midlands also said:

"Racism has no place in the Church of England, but we must face the fact that it still exists. As West Midlands bishops, meeting on Stephen Lawrence Day, we strongly affirm the work of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce and the report 'From Lament to Action' issued today. We acknowledge our part in past and present failures, and recognise the challenges it presents. We wholeheartedly support its recommendations, and look forward to taking them forward with energy and determination."

The Bishop of Warwick, the Right Reverend John Stroyan, is overseeing race equality work in the Diocese of Coventry. He said:

“This is a timely and urgent report which tells us that simply to recognise the existence of racism in the Church, and to confess it’s presence, is not enough. Action is necessary. Its recommendations, therefore, are particular and practical. To eradicate racism is indeed a Gospel imperative which should both bring us to our knees in repentance and at the same time spur us to action.”

Read the report here.

First published on: 22nd April 2021