Judith Eversley writes
A Friend passes her copy of Anglican Peacemaker – the magazine of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship – to me when she has finished with it. There is always something in each issue that reels me in.
I have just caught up with the Winter 2020 issue and sure enough there was a lead article that was so engaging and challenging that I read it five times. It’s an article by the Anglican priest Rev Azariah France-Williams.
Extract below, and the full issue is available online here.
The preacher at my church used to say, “Heaven is pie in the sky, when you die!” I grew up in an area of urban deprivation called Chapeltown in Leeds. It was like a skateboarder’s halfpipe. By this I mean successive waves of immigrants to the UK slid into it, skated across the bottom, then emerged up and out the other side. This was due to the process of assimilation: the Irish, the Polish, and the Jewish all picked up their metaphorical skateboards and skated into a fuller British experience, where they could vanish out of sight in public and maintain their customs and culture in their personal and private lives. They could own homes, take root, whilst maintaining links with the part of the world their heritage arose from.
When people of the West Indies arrived in the 1950s and ’60s, they experienced the downward slide into the halfpipe, but no amount of hard work could get them up and over the opposite side. They were black in private and in public. Their customs and culture were seen as alien. They were treated as visitors from another planet, not belonging to this one. They were rare and uncommon guests. It was difficult for them to put down roots, own homes and become a part of the national story. Stewardship of the earth beneath their feet was not requested or expected…
It’s a longer piece, absolutely worth reading. The author mentions his new book Ghost Ship, and he will be speaking about the book at Ammerdown next month. Details:
Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England – Azariah D A France-Williams
16 May 2021 15:00 – 16:30
Sunday 16 May
Starts: 3pm – Ends: 4.30pm
Free – Donations Welcome
Zoom Course Z1621
Fr. Azariah France-Williams in his book, Ghost Ship issues a stark warning to the church, demonstrating how black and brown ministers are left to drown in a sea of complacency and collusion. Far from being an issue which can be solved by simply recruiting black and brown clergy, says France-Williams, structural racism requires a wholesale dismantling and reassembling of the ship – before it’s too late.
Join the conversation and be part of the change. Fr. Azariah is a priest in the Church of England in an urban parish which is a member of the HeartEdge church network. He is a visiting scholar for Sarum College and is a podcaster and broadcaster. In his session he will be inviting us to think, speak, and act. He also would like to enable us to connect with our own causes and realize the power we have to effect change.