Delegates representing some of Britain’s largest Black-led churches have agreed a plan to radically change the relationship between the Black Church Movement in Britain and the British political process. Speakers at the meeting in London Tuesday 17 July 2012 included Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote, Reverend George Hargreaves of the Christian Party, and academic and documentary presenter Dr Robert Beckford.
Meeting under the aegis of CTE’s Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs, the group committed itself to write a Black Church Political Manifesto within six months – well ahead of the next General Elections – after engaging in a wide-ranging consultation process. The Manifesto will map the challenges faced by the Black community in Britain along with other disadvantaged urban dwellers, the actions the Black Church Movement itself will take, and the demands it will make in return for the votes of the Black Christian community.
Speaking at the meeting Dr Beckford said, ‘The Black Church in Britain is bewitched by the curse of Colonial Christianity that has rendered it politically docile and un-prophetic. This demonic influence that discourages engagement with oppressive political structures that lead to more black people in prison than university must be exorcised. As well as being a plan for action this Manifesto will represent an apology by the Black Church in Britain to the Black Community for being politically silent for too long’.
A second commitment is to partner with Operation Black Vote to launch a national Voter Registration Campaign. Simon Woolley, Director of OBV said, ‘Approximately 50% of African and Caribbean people in London are not registered to vote, while 50% of Black young people are unemployed. The Black Community in Britain must rise up and make its votes count because there are over 100 seats in this country where the Black Vote can determine who wins; and the Black Church has a pivotal role to play in changing the current situation’.
The meeting also called upon the Black Church and community to engage in political resistance where appropriate as well as ensuring they vote at elections, join political parties, run for local and national elected office as counsellors and MPs, seek to become JPs, school governors and chaplains, in greater numbers.
The call for the Black Church in Britain to become politically mobilised is expected to receive warm welcome around the country by politically minded members of Black Churches, especially second and third generation of African and Caribbean heritage Christians.
Attendance: Organisations represented included
African and Afro Caribbean Council of Churches
Bible Way Church of God
Christ Apostolic Church
Church of God of Prophecy
Department of Communities and Local Government
Joint Anglo Caribbean Council of Churches
National Church Leaders Forum
New Testament Assembly
New Testament Church of God
Operation Black Vote
Redeemed Christian Church of God
Seventh Day Adventist Church
Media enquiries: Dr Joe Aldred, Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs, CTE
07775 632288, firstname.lastname@example.org