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

First published 22nd April 2021

The Diocese of Bristol welcomes the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce’s report and supports call for urgent change. 

The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce has today published its report 'From Lament to Action' setting out the actions needed to change the culture 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) backgrounds with “devastating effects” on the future of the Church.

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

The Church of England press release can be found here and the full report here.

The Venerable Neil Warwick, Archdeacon of Bristol, one of the nine members of the taskforce, said:

“Today we welcome this report and recognise it as an important moment for the Church and a clear call for urgent action that we must now take.”

“It’s been a privilege and an education to be part of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce. I have heard many personal accounts of people being treated badly by the church because of their ethnicity and that’s why I’m committed, with my bishop and my colleagues to make that a thing of the past. This is a watershed moment to make a difference. We must grasp it.”

“Bristol was on the world stage as the Colston Statue toppled and the Black Lives Matter movement swept around the globe. The Bishop of Bristol has prioritised the fight against institutional racism and she has made firm commitments on racial justice. We’ve begun the work to address our history and past failings and ensure our churches are places where everyone is welcome, everyone can flourish and where more and more UK minority ethnic people can participate and lead.”

The Revd Dr Cathy Okoronkwo, appointed as the Bishop’s Advisor for Racial Justice last July, said: 

“As a diocese we are at a pivotal moment when we can respond in lament and progress action points in the key areas identified in this report. We cannot continue as we are, we must do things differently if we are ever going to see real change in the culture of our diocese and our Church.” 

The Dean of Bristol, Canon Dr Mandy Ford, said: 

“I welcome this report and its call to action wholeheartedly. As a cathedral community, we continue to reflect deeply on past failures, to lament the damaged lives and lost opportunities lost because of racial discrimination, and commit ourselves to act swiftly to repair our relationships with our sisters and brothers of UK minority ethnic heritage. We will be putting all the recommendations relating to the life and governance of the cathedral into practice at the earliest opportunity.”

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