Vicariate for Caritas

Anti-Racism Working Group

Vicariate for Caritas

Welcome

In our Diocese we have taken the first steps to enable us to strive towards achieving those aims. Through the work of the Anti–Racism Working Group we are seeking a deeper understanding of racism and how it may lie beneath the surface in our own thoughts and actions, both as individuals and as parish and church communities and other structures. We will expand this work so that all people, whatever their ethnicity, find our Diocese to be a true home to them and their families. It is important that our Diocese, reflecting the values of Christ, shows a willingness to listen to the experiences and needs of those who may have experienced racism in our Church.

Background

Bishop Robert Byrne CO commissioned a working group to raise awareness of anti-racism, from the impact of micro–racial aggression to the fatal consequences of major racism.

The group was established following the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter protest, when a parishioner approached the Diocese with a request that some action be taken. At the request of Bishop Robert, the parishioner was put into contact with Fr. Adrian Tuckwell, the Episcopal Vicar for Caritas, who contacted members of the Pastoral Forum and, with the blessing of the Diocese, created the Anti–Racism Working Group. This builds on the work of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales from 1999, where they welcomed the Macpherson Report following the death of Stephen Lawrence; and, in the light of its useful definition of ‘institutional racism’, urged all Catholic organisations and institutions to look again at how they could better serve minority ethnic communities in our society.

"God cares about people regardless of their ethnicity, nationality, and social status..."

Deuteronomy 10:17-19

Events

On 26 January 2021, the Diocese held a launch event titled “Racism: A Challenge for our Diocese” which aimed to raise awareness of racism and its consequences. The event was opened by Bishop Robert Byrne CO, with presentations delivered by Kelechi Dibie (on racial microaggressions) and Beverley Prevatt–Goldstein (on the consequences of racism).

More than 60 people attended the event, including representatives from the Clergy, Board of Trustees, Episcopal Council, Partnership Deans and Chairs, Pastoral Forum, Curia, Justice & Peace, and the Vicariate for Education.

After the video presentations, attendees broke into nine groups to discuss the following questions:

  1. What is your initial reaction to what you have seen and heard in the presentations?
  2. What will you do as a result of what you have heard and learnt today?
  3. What is essential for us, the Diocese, to do to progress towards being a fully anti–racist Diocese?

The response to the evening was powerful, with many people recognising the need to make changes in their individual lives, as well as a significant number of actions to develop better and more open practice across the Diocese. The Anti–Racism working group will now look to continue its deepening of this issue and widening of awareness across the Diocese.

Resources

Contact us

The current members of the Anti-Racism Working Group are:

  • Father Adrian Tuckwell (Chair)
  • Nigel Lightfoot
  • Kelechi Dibie
  • John Hardy
  • Nicola Milne
  • Bozena Jasinska
  • Beverley Prevatt- Goldstein
  • Iain Riddell
  • Meriel Anderson
  • Andrew Tinkler
  • Alison Rebello

For more information or opportunities to be involved, please email Dr. Nigel Lightfoot, Chair of the Pastoral Forum.