Are we really Post-Racial in the West?

A question that seems to have been asked at least since Barack Obama became the president of United States in 2009 and one that in Britain we have been asking for a while is are we post-racial? Those who think we are post-racial considers certain events in our modern/post-modern world such as Mandela becoming the president of South Africa in 1994 and how politically blacks in South Africa were liberated (still not liberated -social-economically!). In Britain, John Sentamu became the Archbishop of York in 2005 making him, the second highest authority within the Anglican worldwide Communion. And of course the crowning acheivement Barack Obama becoming the 44th president and the first African American to hold that post was quite significant. These key markers in our shared history gives the impression that when it comes to race and racism we are making progress therefore the notion of a post-racial society.

However, recent events on both side of the Atlantic have raised tensions already discernible in our society. Lets start with Britain as that is my context. The Brexit campaigners used a very dangerous rhetoric bordering on stigmatising and demonising immigrants but of course when people are pushed on this point they always say they are refering to EU immigrants and not people from the Commonwealth. In essence, they are supposedly tackling white eastern European migration and not coloured migration such as from Africa or Asia. But now with all the racism  we are seeing on our streets and public transport, it is clear that that sort of separation of migrants along geopraphy and colour has not really work out as it has been people of colour that appears to have been suffering racial abuse. I am not saying that EU migrants have not suffered abuses as well, I am however commenting on the fact that the argument about people from the Commonwealth are more than welcome is not justified in the light of recent racial and xenophobic attacks we are seeing.

The notion of being post-racial is defeated when we see far right political rhetoric stigmatising migrants. It is also defeated when people act out their own personal prejudice which was already there may I say on public transport and in our streets. Britain is not post-racial and it has never been post-racial. This is a sad and uncomfortable truth we need to face if we are to deal with these issues in the near future.

In the context of America, the recent murder of black lives in the hands of white police officers whose  actions reminds us of that of  KKK has raised the debate. This type of killings is not new, America only seems to have moved from previously lynching black bodies to now somehow trying to justify it through police brutality. While police murdering black people in public is not a new thing as there were more than 100 of this cases last year alone, what makes the current one caught the public’s attention is the power of social media. That it was recorded and made public for all to see means that there is irrefutable evidence that racism is real and therefore we are not post-racial.

It is crucial to acknowledge on both side of the Atlantic that we have not moved on from racism. To do otherwise is to live in a virtual world that appears so real only because we are either protected or not affected by the events of the existential realities of  migrants, Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME), African American, Eastern Europeans, African Caribbean, Africans, Latin Americans, Asians and the list goes on…………………………………

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After Leave vote the Evangelical Alliance calls for unity and reconciliation (Press Release 24th June)

In the wake of the UK voting to leave the European Union, Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, has commented:

“While the UK has voted to leave the EU, the vote has exposed deep disagreement across our nations, cities and regions. The UK is not united.

“We have entered a time of enormous uncertainty, not only as we renegotiate our relationship with our European neighbours, but also as the governing Conservative party begin the process of selecting our next prime minister.

“This has to be a time to pray.

“As we look to the future the priority must be building unity and modelling reconciliation. We have taken a significant decision and in the coming years many more will need to be taken.

“Although we have chosen to leave the EU we remain part of Europe and need to remember our responsibilities to support and care for our neighbours. In the months and years to come we have to model with generosity what a difference love and friendship can make.

“As Christians we follow the Prince of Peace, and we are called to be peacemakers. This has been a bruising campaign and now is the time to take our political passions and channel them to practical action.

“The vote was the demonstration of the political freedom we enjoy, but it also exposed the fragility of our democracy. We saw participation at levels not seen for decades, but we also saw cynicalcampaigning and honesty marginalised for political gain. Our energies must now be directed towards building bridges within and between communities across the UK.

“We follow a redeemer who reconciles, and we are called to the ongoing work of reconciliation. In our churches and in our neighbourhoods we live and work alongside some who will be celebrating and others who will be disappointed. Reconciliation requires honesty and hard work, it requires that we show respect and openness to those who we disagree with. We cannot ignore the differences  that this vote has exposed, but we cannot let the differences define us. Our hands of friendship must do the work that voting cannot.

“We have confidence in God who holds the nations in His hands, who is the creator of all things. We have confidence that though the pundits and pollsters may be flummoxed, God is not fazed.

“Today I am praying for the UK, I am praying for the European Union, and I am praying for Europe. I am also praying for David Cameron and his family and the Conservative party as it begins the process of selecting its next leader and the country’s prime minister. I’m praying for wisdom for our leaders as they navigate the uncertain waters that lie ahead. I am praying for comfort for those disappointed in the outcome, and I pray that we renew our commitment to work together for the good of all.”

Media enquiries:
Danny Webster
Tel: 07766 444 650
Email: d.webster@eauk.org

Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing  Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared  mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to  Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, more than 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of i  individual members. And we’re not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global  network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org

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Every Tribe, Nation and Language: Growing Multi-ethnic Churches (Press Release)

A day conference for church leaders of all Christian traditions who are seeking to integrate people from different ethnic backgrounds into the life and mission of their church.

 

Key note speakers will offer British and African perspectives about the challenge of growing multi-ethnic churches in the context of contemporary British society. Steve Hollinghurst will explore the impact on Christian mission of secularism, individualism and consumerism. Harvey Kwiyani will share insights as an African missionary and theologian who has lived in the West for many years. There will be opportunity to reflect in groups on the questions they raise. We will ask whether ethnically diverse congregations are counter-cultural?

 

After lunch Tani Omideyi will share his experience of growing a multi-ethnic church in the Anfield area of Liverpool and Gale Richards will help us respond together in a conversation with key note speakers about questions raised during group discussion.

 

This unique collaboration between Birmingham Churches Together, Queens Foundation and the Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World will attract delegates from across the Christian traditions of Pentecostal, Anglican, Free Church and Catholic Churches.

 

The Conference organisers are excited by the prospect of a diverse group of Christian leaders gathering from across the midlands (and beyond) to explore together the challenge of growing multi-ethnic fellowships and sharing the Christian Gospel across ethnic and cultural boundaries. They hope the day will bring about new relationships between churches as partners in God’s mission.

To register and book your place follow this link Queen’s Foundation

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Tani Omideyi becomes first ethnic minority chair of Alliance board (Press Release)

(First released by the Evangelical Alliance on 22nd of March)

Dr Tani Omideyi has become the first ethnic minority chair of the Evangelical Alliance board, succeeding Rev Mike Talbot.

Tani and his wife Modupe started a house group in Liverpool in 1980, having moved there from Nigeria the year before. The house group was the foundation on which they formed Love & Joy Ministries Association of Charities, which includes Temple of Praise congregations.

He is also a director of Together for the Harvest – an Evangelical Alliance local evangelical fellowship (LEF) made up of evangelical churches in the Merseyside region. Tani is also ecumenical canon at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

Tani has become more involved with the work of the Evangelical Alliance over the years, having been a member of the Council since 2008 and then joined the board in September 2014 and being part of the Alliance’s One People Commission – a body of key national church leaders from across ethnic minorities.

“There are so many things I love about the Alliance,” Tani said. “Its strong drive for unity among evangelicals and the extent of the Alliance’s advocacy work is impressive. It’s remarkable that the Alliance has been able to retain its relevance and value for 170 years.”

Tani will bring to the role more than 30 years of overseeing congregations that include Africans, Europeans and Asians not only in the UK, but in other nations.

“I see this very much as a God appointment. As the first non-white person to take on the role, there will be perspectives I hope to bring to carrying out this awesome task. I’m also looking forward to working more closely with general director Steve Clifford, for whom I have the greatest respect. His leadership of the Alliance has been inspirational and mould-breaking.”

Speaking about the OPC, Tani added: “It’s been my dream for many years to be part of a national Church that is not referenced by the skin colour of those that worship in it, but rather by their love for Jesus Christ, our saviour. Thanks to the Alliance, it is fast becoming a reality. In the OPC, you see just that. I see it as a vision of what churches all over the UK will look like in the next 10-20 years.”

Rev Mike Talbot ended his tenure as chair of the Alliance board this month after eight years in post. With almost 30 years of ministry experience, he was the vicar of Emmanuel Church in Northwood for 14 years until his recent appointment as God for All evangelism enabler for the Diocese of Carlisle.

Speaking about his time as the Alliance board chair, Mike said: “It has been a privilege to serve as chair of the Board over the last eight years, and to see how God has been using the Alliance to strengthen and encourage the witness and impact of the Church across our nations. As I step back, with deep gratitude to God and to the team at the Alliance for all they are doing, I am delighted to hand on the chair to Tani, who is a wise, godly, experienced church leader, and well-placed to ensure that the work continues to flourish even more fruitfully in the years that lie ahead.

Alliance general director Steve Clifford said: “Mike Talbot has been an amazing gift to the Evangelical Alliance: a strong and committed chair of board, as well as a personal friend and wise counsellor. After several years in the role, we will be sad to see him go, but we are convinced God has put Tani in position for such a time as this.

“The face of the UK Church is changing, as we become an increasingly multicultural society, and at the Alliance we are passionate about reflecting that diversity in all its vibrancy. As well as Tani bringing a different cultural perspective, he also brings with him 30 years of experience in church and charity leadership. He symbolises a commitment to unity for mission and a passion for seeing local areas flourish. He’s absolutely the right person for the job and I’m looking forward to working with him more closely.”

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

First released on the 22nd of March by the Evangelical Alliance website

Danny Webster
Tel: 07766 444 650
Email: d.webster@eauk.org

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Dr Tani Omideyi and Steve Clifford are available for interview.
  2. The Board is the group of trustees of the Evangelical Alliance and is made up of up to 25 members of the Council, appointed at the Annual General Meeting. The Board meets five times a year to discuss the vision and direction of the Alliance and ensure that the affairs of the Alliance are conducted properly.

Biography: Tani Omideyi

Tani was born in Lagos Nigeria, came to the UK in 1979 to study Chemical Engineering at Aston University in Birmingham and later obtained a doctorate at the University of Salford.  He and his wife Modupe started a house group in Liverpool in 1980, the foundation of what is now Love & Joy Ministries Association of Charities which includes Temple of Praise congregations, Liverpool Lighthouse Ltd, Harmonize Academy, an AP Free School and Bright Park, a 5-acre wooded land currently being redeveloped as a valuable community resource.   LJM’s work now extends to other UK cities, Uganda, Gambia, Ireland, South Africa, Pakistan and Myanmar where it supports churches and ministries.

As chair of Trustees and Senior Pastor for Temple of Praise congregations, he works closely with his wife Modupe who acts as Rector and CEO for the Association and Chair of Governors for the school.  The Association’s transformational work through Liverpool Lighthouse regularly engages with thousands of vulnerable people every year, providing housing, education, training and jobs and improving health, all these contributing to improving community cohesion, safety and wellbeing of communities.

Coming from a musical Christian family, Tani’s passion invariably includes music.  He has written or co-written over 150 worship and gospel songs, a number of which have been performed by his choir on BBC and other national radio and TV networks.  He is an adviser to GMIA (the Gospel Music Industry Alliance).

Tani is a director of Together for the Harvest, a local network of Evangelical churches in the Merseyside region, and represents the region on the national council of the Evangelical Alliance for England & Wales, currently serving on its ‘One People Commission’.  He was invited to join the EA board as a director in September 2014 and becomes the chair from March 2016.  He is currently an Ecumenical Canon of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts (RSA) in recognition of the community transformational work he has pioneered in Anfield, Liverpool.

Tani and Modupe have three beautiful daughters of their own, other children and a grandson.

The Evangelical Alliance

We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we’re not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.

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Child of Gabriel – Press release (Black BAFTA winner celebrates diversity )

Thirteen-year-old Kenya’s life is about to change for ever.
She is a guardian of an amulet whose fate determines the future of her planet.
Can Kenya and her friend find the amulet pieces and save their planet?

With the all-white Oscar nominations highlighting the lack of ethnic diversity in the entertainment industry, black BAFTA winner Anne Maria Raithatha is releasing a book to tackle the issue. Child of Gabriel: The Battle for the Lost Amulet is a fantasy book for children featuring black and Asian protagonists, which aims to build confidence in those whom culture often overlooks.
As a black woman of Caribbean heritage who has won entertainment industry awards and now teaches at a top preparatory school in North London, Anne Maria is perfectly placed to inspire children from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds to pursue and achieve success.
Anne Maria won her BAFTA, RTS and Broadcasting awards for the My Life as a Popat series that brought the lives of ethnic minority families to centre stage of British TV. Being married to an Asian she is particularly aware of the challenges and benefits diversity can bring.
Set in Harrow, one of the most ethnically diverse areas of London, the main character, a neglected 13-tear-old black child called Kenya, gradually learns to overcome hurdles and discover her own self-worth.
She lives with her cantankerous mother and grumpy stepfather in a London suburb. Ignored by her peers and unloved by her family Kenya is unaware of the incredible destiny that awaits her. As a result of the disappearance of her father she discovers that, as a Child of Gabriel, she is one of the guardians of a powerful amulet piece. This piece is one of many scattered throughout time.
The pieces had become dispersed when the world was young and a mighty conflict had raged between Kenya’s people, the peace-loving land-dwellers, and terrifying beasts of the underworld. The land-dweller guardians had ended the war by shattering a magic amulet that could give the beasts power to rule. However, in this first of a series, the long-forgotten underworld has grown in strength. It seeks to reunite the amulet’s shattered shards and conquer the world.
Kenya’s life is turned upside down as she embarks on a quest, with fellow guardian- Amit, to find the other amulet pieces before the dark forces from the underworld find them first. As her story progresses she learns to step out from the shadows and become a true heroine; and this growth in character continues in the sequel: Child of Gabriel: -The Return of the Nephanaks.
Anne Maria, who returned to teaching with the desire not just to encourage pupils academically but to help students on the periphery realise their potential, says: ‘The two main characters are black and Asian. I wanted to write books that reflect the diverse ethnicities in this nation. I hope this book will help to inspire more children from various ethnic backgrounds to read and write profusely in all genres’.

About the author:
Anne Maria Raithatha is a mathematics and science teacher at St. Martin’s School in Northwood .
Anne Maria co-wrote British Born Asian and Proud, which won an Edinburgh Fringe First in 2000 and then the children’s TV series My Life as a Popat, which won a BAFTA in 2005 and RTS and Broadcast awards in 2008.
She is also a speaker at children’s and adults’ events.
Anne Maria lives in North London, is married and has two children.
http://www.childofgabriel.com
For review copies and media enquiries contact Manoj: info@instantapostle.com
Tel: 07932 463 591

Child of Gabriel (ISBN: 978-1-909728-36-3) by Anne Maria Raithatha is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 24 March 2016 from bookshops and on-line retailers. Fiction, paperback, 160pp, £6.99.
NOTES FOR EDITORS: St. Martin’s School achieved outstanding results this year. From a cohort of 36 boys 24 scholarships were achieved with the majority being offered places at top independent schools Merchant Taylors’ and Haberdashers’ Aske’s.

To buy this book follow this link Child of Gabriel

 

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Pastor’s Brunch 2015

At the end of 2015, CMMW gathered together 15 pastors and leaders originating from 10 different countries as diverse as South Korea, Peru, Jamaica, Ethiopia and India. All now find themselves living as missionaries in the UK today, some having left their countries of birth with the express purpose of serving God here, while others have found themselves here through various circumstances, including fleeing their countries or coming to study, and it was while they were here that they sensed that God was calling them as missionaries to this place.
The purpose of the CMMW Brunch event was to encourage these pastors and missionaries, providing space to share their stories and discuss together the realities of mission in the UK today.
Girma Bishaw, pastor of the Ethiopian Christian Fellowship in Kings Cross, kindly hosted the event, and opened the event by posing a question to the leaders from the Biblical story of Elijah, a man who asked “why are you here?” That same question can be asked of us today – why are we in Britain? Girma believes it is because of the great agenda of God on our lives, to bless this country. There are people of every nation living in the UK, and the question he encouraged us to ask ourselves is: “Am I making an influence?”
Peter Oyugi, one of the CMMW team, and originally from Kenya, shared the vision of the Centre, which aims to be a hub stimulating networking and partnership. Their main aims are:
1. To encourage and equip those who have come to minister in the UK to continue to live out the gospel here
2. To help the UK, as the host nation, to understand those who are coming (this is needed as we often live out aspects of our Christian faith differently to each other)
3. To provide a forum for publications/writing by those from the majority world who are ministering in the UK, and inspire thinking and a change of attitude in scholarship, as the knowledge and experience of those from the majority world is shared and heard
4. Help equip those coming to minister in the UK to identify good places to do so and to plant churches
Israel Olofinjana, another CMMW team member, from Nigeria, reflected from the book of Esther: we have found ourselves here “for such a time as this”, with God using Christians from the majority world at this time to give birth to a missionary movement of people to the West. Each pastor at the event was given time to share their own story, and describe how God is at work through their ministry in the UK.
The keynote talk, Models of Mission in a Globalised World, was given by Dr Samuel Cueva, and based on his PhD. Samuel is from Peru and pastor of Iglesia Misionera Evangelica, a Spanish-speaking Latin American church in London. He reflected on the various models of mission, describing the new ‘Emergent Model’ which is emerging. This model sees missionaries, often from the global south, coming with little support, and under the influence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit rather than coming from a position of power and influence. The model is also often less bureaucratic, more flexible and more relational, with its missionaries having a strong spirituality and confidence in God. However, the individuals often have weak financial support and lack proper training in cross-cultural mission.
Samuel described how God is bringing migrants from the South to the North, mobilising a new mission force. Most are not sent by mission agencies, so when we ask then “who sent you?” they often answer “the Holy Spirit”, and wonder why you are asking such a question!
Sometimes these emergent missionaries come to reach out to people of their own ethnicity in the host nation, and can find problems in reaching out to other groups. Samuel argues that while ministering to those from your own ethnicity is valid, missionaries also need to be open to the culture in which they find themselves, looking out into the wider community rather than being closed or insular. There is also a need to model unity with the Christian community in the host nation.
Dr Samuel Cueva’s book Mission Partnership in Creative Tension is available to purchase online.
If you would like the CMMW team to host an event in your area, contact us via our web page.

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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