The Rev'd Sonia Barron, Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations for Lincoln, is encouraging people to explore what it means to challenge racial injustice in society.  

Sonia was former Co-chair of the Church of England’s Anti-Racism Taskforce, and a co-author of its report ‘From Lament to Action’. She has been recently appointed to the Archbishops' Commission on Racial Justice. Sonia is urging people to be more than thinkers and to choose an action a day to address racial injustice. She suggests people focus on the sections on The Taskforce’s approach in the report entitled 'Context and Culture' and 'The Urgency of Now.' These sections can help to deepen understanding of the key drivers behind the 47 recommendations in the report. 

The diocese of Lincoln has already begun to address some of the recommendations of the report. The bishop's staff attended Unconscious Bias Training, the first of a three-part facilitated learning programme looking at issues of difference, and the Bishop of Grantham, the Rt Revd Dr Nicholas Chamberlain, as lead on UKME issues, presented a paper to Bishop's Staff in June of this year. The paper recognised that the report 'From Lament to Action' outlined a timetable for actions under the key priorities of participation, education, training and mentoring, young people, structures and governance. Action is already underway to implement some of the recommendations with diversity monitoring, the implementation of anti-racism training for those in recruitment roles and an examination of racial diversity being expressed through school curriculums and in leadership roles including Bishop's Staff. Another recent diocesan initiative was an online seminar lead by Ben Lindsay. He encourages people to think about the black experience in a white majority church and helped the diocese to consider tangible next steps to reflecting the diverse people we serve. 

Sonia says when we encounter difference, we do so through the lens of our own world view but can widen our appreciation of alternative views and be courageous to call out racism. She says 

each person can reflect these diocesan commitments in their daily life. Sonia suggests being curious about others, to listen to their stories, and to think about encounters that are beyond media portrayals. 

The Bishop of Grantham, the Rt Revd Dr Nicholas Chamberlain, says the church has talked about inclusion for generations. He describes the report From Lament to Action and the Archbishops' Commission as ways to put the conversation into action so that people can see themselves, their race, their culture and their history in the Church’s life.

 

The Archbishops' Commission meets for the first time this month. Its work is to seek to understand why disparities exist in society and engage with stakeholders within and beyond the church. The Commission will report to the Archbishops every six months for the next two years to address racism in the Church.