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HMT Empire Windrush FL9448This reflection comes from the Revd Dr Michael N Jaggesar, Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries, for the seventieth anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush later this week.

Just very recently a very good colleague of mine shared with me a conversation her daughter’s friend had with a group of her White British colleagues. The White British colleagues wanted to know from their Black British friend why Black people have to see everything as related to race. Her daughter’s response when she heard this from her friend was: ‘that’s interesting’. My colleague went to say she wished her daughter could have said: ‘because for the White British context race matters in everything related to us Black people’! It does. We must remember this as we celebrate 70 years of joys, afflictions, anguish, despair, rising-up, contributing to wealth of putting ‘great’ back into Britain, and much more of this group of people. The struggle as Milan Kundera observed is one of ‘memory against forgetting’. And contrary to the wishful-thinking of some of us, we are not living in a post-racial Britain. The progeny of the Windrush generation and succeeding inheritors continue to battle with the status quo over the nature of reality as experienced by them. This is reflected in that small example of my friend’s daughter and the recent debacle around the treatment of some from the Caribbean.

Read more: Celebrating Windrush @70

BAME GroupOn the 29 and 30 of May, Global and Intercultural Ministries held their annual Special Gathering of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Ministers and Church Related Community Workers; Together Ethnic and Minority URC; and Cascades of Grace at the High Leigh Conference Centre in Hoddesdon. The theme for this year’s gathering was ‘partnering for justice.’ The conference participants included 20 BAME clergy and Laity from the URC and partner churches; including the Presbyterian Church of Ghana; the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana; and the Presbyterian Church of Korea. The gathering included time for discussion, worship, reflection, fellowship, as well as planning for how to work to be more inclusive of the entirety of the body of Christ in the coming year. 

The theme of ‘partnering for justice’ encouraged participants to think about intersectionality and how we as an intercultural church can engage with multiple elements of individual’s and communities’ identities to strive for justice. Intersectionality is a term that was developed by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, an American civil rights advocate and scholar. Intersectionality emphasises the multiple ways in which a community or individual can be minoritized or otherized in order to more meaningfully and critically evaluate the community’s or individual’s identity. Through embracing this framework, conference participants were able to consider how the URC and the global church can work together to seek justice. 

Read more: 'partnering for justice' BAME Special Gathering Report

The National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon held their third partners’ consultation in Lebanon from the 18th to the 20th of April. The Revd Dr Michael Jagessar and the Revd Tim Clarke attended the partners’ consultation as representatives of the United Reformed Church. The Official Memorandum from the partners’ consultation can be found here.

The United Reformed Church’s partner Church the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan is urging The URC and all their other partners around the world to advocate for Taiwan’s ability to participate in the World Health Organization’s World Health Assembly. Geo-politics is impacting the Taiwanese government’s ability to advocate for the health of its over 23 million citizens. Taiwan participated in the assembly as an observer every year from 2009 to 2016. However, last year Taiwan was not invited, and they have yet to be invited this year.

The Taiwan Ecumenical Forum has shared a statement from the PCT in their most recent newsletter. Please take a moment to read their newsletter and support the health of the people of Taiwan.

Reforming1 small“Christians should be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons” [Luther, Thesis 43]

The 500th anniversary of the Lutheran reformation earlier this year has allowed for numerous spaces for looking back and considering the history of the reformation. However, many progressive theological communities in the reformed tradition have had limited spaces for considering the ongoing impact of the reformation in the work of the church today. How can reformed churches continue to reform and embrace the spirit of the reformation in their pursuit of justice and inclusiveness? The ‘a reforming imagination’ conference provided a space for these ideas to be considered and discussed.

Read more: a reforming imagination - follow-up

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