The Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng will be the guest speaker at a special event open to all at Lichfield Cathedral in November focusing on Racial Justice and Inclusion in the Church of England.
Lord Boateng will speak about the ongoing work of the Archbishops’ Racial Justice Commission, which he chairs, at the morning which is hosted by members of the Diocese of Lichfield’s UKME (United Kingdom Minority Ethnic) Network.
There will also be an update on the work of the diocese’s Racial Justice and Inclusion Task Group along with worship led by the Revd Preb Adrian and Esther Stone. The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, will take part in the event as well on Friday 18 November at 10am - noon.
The Revd Treena Larkin, from the diocesan UKME Network and General Synod member, said: “We would love to welcome as many people as possible to this landmark event. Lord Boateng and the commission have a key role in scrutinising the Church of England’s policies, practices, and culture in relation to racial justice. It’s a real privilege to welcome him to our diocese to share with us the progress that the commission is making in its crucial work.”
Lord Boateng said: “Racism is a gaping wound in the body of Christ. Its scourge grievously hurts Him but to vanquish the foe and to bring us all God’s children closer together is a delight to Him. The Commission is pleased to be walking with the Church of England, its parishes and dioceses as we share the wonderful privilege of contributing to the healing of wounds inflicted over the generations. I am very much looking forward to my visit to Lichfield to speak of our journey together.”
Bishop Michael said: “We need to be courageous in tackling difficult issues as we all work together for real change to enable us to become more fully and more visibly the Body of Christ. It is wonderful that Lord Boateng has agreed to spend a morning with us. I am sure his insights will be illuminating, challenging and inspiring, and I would encourage everyone to attend.”
Lord Boateng, of Ghanaian and Scottish origin, became the UK's first black cabinet minister when he was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2002. He then served as the British High Commissioner to South Africa from 2005 to 2009 and was introduced as a member of the House of Lord in 2010. Lord Boateng took over as Chair of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice (ACRJ) last year following the death of previous Chair, the Revd Dr Joel Edwards.
Mandated to drive ‘significant cultural and structural change on issues of racial justice within the Church of England’, the ACRJ is charged with monitoring, holding to account and supporting the implementation of the 47 recommendations of the Racial Justice Taskforce which were laid out in the taskforce’s comprehensive 2020 report From Lament to Action.
Places for the free event can be booked in advance on the cathedral website and a poster is available.