Black British History
What you will need:
Feel free to use this short liturgy or open with extemporary prayer - or a combination of both.
(Whatever works best for you and your tradition).
Light a candle in the centre of the group
Keep a moment of silence
Leader: Let us start by bringing our focus onto God and recognise God’s presence among us.
May the love and desire for justice of Jesus Christ be with you.
All: And also with you.
Leader: We put aside of stresses and preoccupations of the day, we acknowledge our hopes, fears,
and anxieties as we start this session.
We ask you to be with us, Lord.
Help us to be open and vulnerable to your presence and the learning you have for us today.
We pray in Jesus’ name.
Leader may read the collect for this week
Leader: We gather together our thoughts and prayers using the prayer that Jesus taught us:
All: Our Father…
All: All pray ‘The Prayer for Courage’ from the Corrymeela Community by Pádraig Ó Tuama to close.
Review the Principles of Learning Community:
• We’re here to learn
• No experts
• Be challenged by the gospel
• Be challenged by the stories and experiences of others
• Will prioritise the voices of UKME / Global Majority Christians
• We acknowledge the leading of the Holy Spirit
A reminder to:
• Be Present
• Be Open
• Be Truthful
• Be Gracious
• Be Kind
Explain the flow of this session (it would help to put this on PowerPoint or a White Board or A3 paper as well).
• Review your group covenant
• Ask that everyone agrees to those principles again for this session by raising their hands.
May we suggest people get into groups of 3 or 4 with those near them. Make sure everyone has a bible or a copy of the passage. There are many variations on how to do Lectio Divina. Here’s a variation that we will use today:
Listening for God in the Word:
How God speaks to ME and what I am invited to DO:
Please note that anyone may “pass” at any time. If a person prefers to pray silently instead of sharing with the group, then simply state this aloud and conclude your silent prayer with Amen.
We are blessed to have the Revd Canon Dr Rosalyn Murphy’s biblical reflections every week. These have been a core feature of both the online courses which ran in Coventry and Derby.
She is a biblical scholar, with masters and doctoral degrees from Durham. She is currently a vicar and Chair of the Racial Equality Action Group in the Diocese of Coventry.
Take a moment of silence to consider the Bible reflection
An opportunity to share observations or reflections in partners. If time, bring some of that back to the larger group.
We were very lucky to have Professor Anthony Reddie with us on the Amazing Grace course in Coventry and in Derby.
The author of many books and articles, Professor Anthony G. Reddie is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture and a Fellow of Regent’s Park College at the University of Oxford.
He is also an Extraordinary Professor of Theological Ethics and a Research Fellow at the University of South Africa.
This extract is the first half of a video he prepared for the Diocese of Coventry.
In groups of 3 or 4, here are some questions to consider:
Watch Professor Anthony Reddie Video No. 2.
This extract is the second half of the video he prepared for the Diocese of Coventry.
Hand out copies. If time, discuss, if not, ask the group to read them during the week – and to apply the thinking to the Race Awareness Audit.
As you did last week, let the group know that you will email them with further material in the next couple of days to consider during the week.
We know people have varying degrees of time, so we will share everything from a book to read to short videos / articles and podcasts.
This is not intended to be a book group or to require you to do hours of homework between each session.
There is no guilt or pressure to engage with everything, but people are encouraged to engage with at least something (and all are invited to include this learning community in their prayers) before we meet again next week.
Say a short prayer to close, committing our actions to God, inviting the Holy Spirit to enable our continued learning with courage throughout the week.
As before, thank them for joining you on this Amazing Grace Learning Community journey and please be sure to encourage the group to pray for each other throughout the week.
Strongly recommend Azariah France-William’s brilliant book, ‘Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England’.
Other Online Resources:
There is a great Nomad podcast with Azariah: https://www.nomadpodcast.co.uk/azariah-france-williams-natalia-nana-black-aliens-and-white-al-lies-n235/
Other Print Resources:
If you’d rather, check out this Church Times article at: Azariah France-Williams: a C of E health warning (churchtimes.co.uk)
We have also attached a recent 2022 research report entitled ‘If it Wasn’t for God’. It is a Report on the Wellbeing of Global Majority heritage Clergy in the Church of England.
Lastly, we’ve attached an important recent national church document, ‘From Lament to Action,’ published in 2021 from the Archbishops’ National Anti-Racism Taskforce (if you haven’t had a chance to look at it before). You can read about the task force here.
As we have reached the mid-point in our sessions, we are going to begin to shift focus a bit towards action and change (whilst retaining the need for personal reflection, of course). To that end, think a bit about the headlines produced by the Anti-Racism Task Force in the CofE and about which of these you might be drawn to. The five priority areas for change and implementation are as follows:
Biblical Reflection on Philemon 1
Black British History: Anthony Reddie
We are here because you were there: Anthony Reddie