Our Big BAME Conversation: A safe space for usually hidden voices to be heard

On Monday 8th June, a group of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Anglicans from across the diocese gathered for a BIG BAME Conversation convened by Bishop Guli. This was primarily an opportunity to check in with each other and share stories of where we’ve been seeing God at work during lockdown.

Our BAME Mission Enabler, Revd Canon Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy, said: "We were encouraged to hear accounts of deepened faith, and the joy of encountering God afresh during challenging times. Some spoke of the active support received by their church communities, and gave thanks for the many initiatives to connect and draw people together despite the ongoing demands of confinement. In contrast, there were concerns about a general lack of awareness within the Church about the daily challenges and difficulties faced by BAME people, including the many things that limit full inclusion and participation.

"There was an encouragement for our Church to undertake a wide process of education on structural and systemic issues adversely affecting the lives of many BAME people. We also heard calls for the exploration and formulation of a distinctively BAME theology to help us rethink the Church post pandemic.

"We lamented the particularly heavy toll of Covid-19 on BAME communities, highlighting the challenges faced by many BAME migrant workers who often have to contend with unfavourable immigration policies and the government’s “hostile environment” approach. Many called for the Church to speak out and offer advocacy especially for those most marginalised.

"This “safe space” was valued by those who participated. It allowed for usually hidden voices to be heard, and called for an ongoing process that allows more of such voices to be heard in our shared conversations as a diocese. This will inevitably require courage for us all, and will demand a level of risk taking and vulnerability from many BAME Anglicans in our Diocese.

"The meeting concluded with a beautiful heavenly cacophony as all joined in saying the Lord’s Prayer in various languages and forms."


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