Cinnamon UK

George Floyd Protests 2020

It’s impossible to watch coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests and feel nothing. Whether it’s anger, sadness, rage, grief, confusion, guilt, pride or remorse – the powerful images illicit a response.

But how should we, the Church, respond?

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis lit the touch paper. But this isn’t about a single incident; it’s about generations of abuse.

The fact that these events come as the UK emerges from lockdown is no coincidence. Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the cold hard facts provide stark evidence of the inequality in our society.

While lots of leaders and organisations have issued statements about Black Lives Matter, true justice is about more than words.

Justice means action.

We see this throughout the Bible – just take a look at Micah 6:8.

“And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”

Acting justly requires us to do something about the wrongdoing we see in our society.

This is not a topic we can ignore.

The word justice may feel a little confrontational for some of us; we might be happier with pursuit of peace.

But as Martin Luther King said, “true peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of justice.”

We need to remember that the biblical meaning of peace, shalom, is about more than our own contentment. This is perfectly encapsulated in the African concept of ubuntu, which literally means ‘I am because we are.’ When one section of our society is hurting, we all hurt.

Jeremiah 8:11 is quite clear about this:

“They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.”

What can we practically do?

Listen. In this moment, we all need to move beyond your own echo chambers and listen to voices we don’t normally hear. Through social media, blog posts, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic newspapers and magazines we can see different perspectives.

Reflect. Perhaps even harder is the soul searching we need to do in our own lives. We all need to allow God and others to highlight our privilege, our unconscious bias, and the assumptions we may have made about people.

Repent. Cinnamon UK has been represented in numerous conversations over the past few weeks and it’s been beautiful to hear church leaders saying sorry to the Black community for ignoring these issues for too long.
This is the first step toward remedial action – as churches commit to better understanding issues facing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and ensuring their representation on leadership teams.

Talk. The issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19 are deep and complex. We encourage you to engage in conversations on social media, through Zoom conferences and over the phone as we grapple with issues of racial injustice.

Act. Cinnamon UK has number of black-led recommended projects who can help your church shape their missional outreach. We recommend any church to reach out to Food for Purpose and Living Loss to start your journey, but there are other projects too who are already engaged in great work in our Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

Take things further

On 16 July our Cinnamon Connect Webinar will look at ethnic diversity. SIGN UP to our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out on a place.

You can take look at previous Cinnamon Connect Webinars that feature contributions from our Black-led initiatives:  Responding to Emotional Needs; Engaging Young People and Leading Well During Lockdown.

We’re also developing a number of training modules to help churches to unpack these issues even further and shape their own church response.  

If you’re interested in taking part email team@cinnamonnetwork.co.uk

Mike Royal

Mike Royal

Co-CEO, Cinnamon Network UK