Notes from a Black and White Island, Personal Reflections on Dialogue and Black Lives Matter
AbstractDuring the first lockdown, the decision of the Diocese of Hereford to initiate discussions entitled, ‘Racial Justice and the Church’, as a response to the re-emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement was heartening. As a priest in the Church of England, who came to Craven Arms, a small agricultural town in the Hereford Diocese, after over thirty-six years’ stipendiary ministry in urban and inner-city ministry in diverse communities and congregations, it was encouraging to realise that less diverse communities were addressing the same issues. The third of these sessions was with Dr Joel Edwards and called for the creation of safe spaces where white people could be set free from ‘White liberal nervousness of getting things wrong’. I write as a white liberal with plenty of experience of getting things wrong. I write as a Christian involved in interfaith relations for many years and am aware that issues of intolerance and racism are encountered within and across different faiths, not least the long history of anti-Semitism within the Church. These comments and reflections on my personal journey explore a vision of a safe space.