A group of Christian leaders across Chester have come together to stand against racism, bullying and prejudice.
Protests continue to take place across the world in support for the Black Lives Matter movement, following the death of George Floyd.
Crowds of people gathered a few weeks ago outside Chester’s Town Hall for a “socially distanced protest”, which was organised by BLM Chester.
Now, this group of Christian leaders , including the Bishop of Birkenhead and the Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God congregation Calvary Love City Chester plus leaders from a wide cross section of other Christian denominations have released a statement asking God to “bring an end to racial injustice”.
As Christian leaders in Chester we know that silence is no longer an option: Black Lives Matter.
Following the recent murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis we make it clear that we are appalled by the violence committed against a human being created in the image of God. Racial justice is not just a black or white issue; it is a Kingdom of God issue. Jesus came to destroy every dividing wall of hostility to make one new humanity in Christ.
The Christian scriptures contain a vision of the justice that Christ established through his life, death and resurrection: He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. In contrast to this, we recognise that racism is embedded in many institutions and cultures – including our own. For this we are truly sorry.
We recognise that we have allowed ourselves to become estranged from God’s heart and we have at times disregarded the people He loves including those from the Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities in our own churches and communities.
We recognise we need to listen to and learn from our Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities sisters and brothers. We need to reflect, repent and act differently across our city to forge together a better future where all have a voice, are able to contribute and live free from fear and oppression.
We wish to build relationships in our city so we value others, irrespective of differences, addressing problems together and finding common cause with partners and friends to forge a better future together.
We hope that through our listening we can shape the policies, practices and priorities of the institutions, churches, businesses and services of our city.
May God transform our hearts, renew our minds and lead us forwards in humility and love.”
This letter is supported by:
Revd Andy & Sue Glover HBC Chester
Ed Green HBC Chester
Revd Phil Jump Regional Minister North Western Baptist Association
Pastor Basil & Bisi Onyeoji RCCG Calvary Love City Chester
Rt Revd Keith Sinclair Bishop of Birkenhead
The Ven Dr Michael Gilbertson Archdeacon of Chester
Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford Dean of Chester Cathedral
Revd Jane Brooke Vice Dean Chester Cathedral
Revd Jeremey Dussek Chester Cathedral
Revd Sarah Fenby Chester Cathedral
Revd Hennie Johnston St. Mark’s
Revd Anina Thomas St. Mark’s
Revd Pete Rugen St Michael’s, Plas Newton
Revd Tina Upton Holy Trinity Blacon
Revd Chris Blunt St. Paul’s and St. Luke’s
Revd R. P. Whaite St Mary without-the-walls, Chester
Revd Jonathan Philips St Peters at the Cross
Revd Graham Shaw Christchurch
Revd David Chesters St John’s
Revd John Kirkland All Saints Hoole
Sam Durdant-Hollamby The Groves Church
Revd Geoff Thompson Kingsway Chapel
Pastor Robin Gerrard Waverton Evangelical Fellowship
John & Anna Simmons Senior Leaders Vineyard 53
Keith & Rachel Cooper Freedom Church Chester
Mark Foster Audacious Church Chester
Richard & Wendy Price Netchurch
Pastor Tim Rowlands Festival Church
Robin and Claire Dillamore Burn 24/7 Chester
Revd Jonathan Hodgins City Road Presbyterian Church
Revd Mo Roberts City Road Presbyterian Church
Gerald and Lin Sidery Northgate Church
Revd Neil Stacey Superintendent Minister, North Cheshire Methodist Circuit
Revd Dr Christine Dutton Wesley Methodist Church
Revd David Goodwin Minister, North Cheshire Methodist Circuit
Revd Pat Billsborrow Methodist Ecumenical Officer (Chester and Stoke District)
Revd Dr Christine Jones Methodist Ecumenical Officer (Liverpool District)
Revd Glyn Jones Light College and Collective
Gareth Thomas Light College and Collective
Revd Jacky Embrey Moderator, URC Mersey Synod
Revd Ruth Wilson Upton and Vicars Cross United Reformed Churches
Revd Chris Davies Blacon United Reformed Church
Revd Andrew Taylor County Ecumenical Development Officer, Churches Together in Cheshire
Revd Ken Walker Chair, Churches Together in Chester City Centre
Major Gareth Dickens Ecumenical Officer for Cheshire, The Salvation Army
Michael Hennessey Chair of Churches Together in Cheshire (Quaker)