Black British Christian forums unite to produce a series of webinars on reparations
Black History Month 2021 sees the launch of a series of webinars dedicated to British engagement with reparations for descendants of enslaved and colonised African peoples.
The Racial Justice Advocacy Forum (RJAF) is partnering with the National Church Leaders Forum (NCLF) and Movement for Justice and Reconciliation (MJR) to facilitate leading Black Christian voices on the various aspects of reparation and its implications for both church and government. Reparations is one of the most topical yet misunderstood issues in both church and society.
The webinar series, I Will Repay: Church and Reparations, has three core aims:
To articulate the various Christian positions around reparations
To equip the church to speak with confidence on reparations
To help solidify the Christian work around reparations.
These aims are geared towards action-based outcomes that build upon historical and current efforts in Britain, for example: a permanent memorial, a scholarship fund, strategies for church engagement and a service of lament.
The Revd Wale Hudson-Roberts, Baptist Union Justice Enabler and member of the RJAF, said, 'Over 50 years ago Martin Luther King presented his ‘I Have a Dream' speech to a massive crowd in Washington. Reparatory justice was one of the themes he inspired and demanded his audience to reflect on.
'Yet many decades later, communities impacted by slavery and colonialism are still calling for reparatory justice; for justice to be done, reparation needs to be made.'
The Revd Alton P Bell, chair of the Movement for Justice and Reconciliation, said, 'The legacies of colonialism and the enslavement of Africans in the Caribbean has left an indelible mark on their descendants. To redress this we need to achieve reconciliation across many stratas of society.
'This is a process which starts with acknowledgment of the wrongs of the past and ends with recompense. This is reparatory justice. And we shall overcome, since the arc of the moral universe is bending towards justice.'
Session 1 is entitled ‘I will repay: the Church and Reparations’ and takes place on Wednesday 6 October 2021 at 7.30pm. It explores the theological rationale’ with Professor Robert Beckford, Eleasah Louis, the Revd Ronald Nathan and Dionne Gravesande.
Further sessions will take place next year, and will explore The History of the Reparations Movement in Britain; Reparations and Education; Reparations and Decolonising Aid; Reparations and the Government; Rebuilding and Reconciliation and The Future of the Reparations Movement.
The partnering forums cover the broad spectrum of Black and Brown Christian voices in Britain. The RJAF is comprised of representatives from historical churches in Britain such as the Baptist Union of Great Britain, The Church of England, the United Reformed Church and ecumenical bodies such as Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.
The NCLF is dedicated to facilitating the black Christian voice in Britain and is represented by leaders from various black majority churches and black Christian organisations.
MJR generates research that identifies sites of colonial legacies that impact local communities in Britain. Undergirded by Christian values, MJR focus on solution and reconciliation.