The appalling death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests have brought the issues of racism, oppression, inequality and injustice once again into the spotlight, where they should be. These are issues that the Diocese of Bristol, like many organisations, has been aware of, discussed and attempted to address. However, while we have taken some positive steps, it is clear that we have not done enough.
The protests in Bristol yesterday and the destruction of the statue of Edward Colston mark a moment in the city’s history. As Bishop of Bristol I will now act with a renewed sense of urgency and determination to:
- Acknowledge and repent of the Church’s past involvement in and benefit from the slave trade;
- Challenge and address institutional racism, listening to and learning from the experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people;
- Recruit and support more Black, Asian and minority ethnic clergy, staff and volunteers;
- Make our churches truly welcoming to everyone, taking responsibility for the need for profound cultural change in our Church.
- Work with others in the Diocese of Bristol and the Church of England to bring these things about
Colston was an English merchant, slave trader, and MP who endowed schools, almshouses, hospitals and churches across Bristol, including the cathedral. Read more in this Church Times article.