This was already on the Church of England’s agenda. The General Synod meeting of February 2020 held a debate on the Windrush generation and the ‘hostile environment’ for BAME people, in which the Archbishop of Canterbury said:

“We did not do justice in the past. We do not do justice now. And unless we are radical and decisive in this area in the future, we will still be having this conversation in 20 years’ time and still doing injustice – the few of us that remain, deservedly. We’ve damaged the Church. We’ve damaged the image of God. Most of all, we’ve damaged those we victimised, unconsciously very often.”

ICS Trustees believe that we, together with every other part of the Church, need to do at least two things.

  1. We need to examine ourselves, past and present, for ways in which we have colluded with or benefited from racism, including any aspect of the abhorrent slave trade.
  2. We need to make clear where we stand in an environment where racism is still manifestly alive and well and ‘Black lives matter’ remains a contested statement.

We have reviewed our history and believe that we had no involvement with or benefit from the slave trade. The abolitionist William Wilberforce was one of our Vice-Presidents. The Society was active in ministry to freed slaves. Having said this, we are not complacent, and would welcome any historic connections to slavery which we have missed being pointed out to us.

We are absolutely clear where we stand on the issue of contemporary racism. Racial injustice of any kind is an offence to the God who made all people equal. We affirm that 'Black lives matter'. We stand with those who continue to experience the evil of racial injustice of any kind. We commit to listen and learn, to review our own practices, to ensure that these convictions are lived out in the Society and the Chaplaincies which we serve. We rejoice that many of those Chaplaincies are genuinely multi-racial, and welcome them as foretastes of the Kingdom of Heaven in which all will celebrate and worship together as sisters and brothers.

Intercontinental Church Society