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New commission established to address racism in Church of England

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(Photo: Unsplash/Yulia Chinato)

A commission has been established in the Church of England to implement “significant and structural” change on racial equality.

The creation of the Archbishops’ Racism Action Commission follows fresh scrutiny of racism in the Church of England following the death of George Floyd in the US.

In recent weeks, the Church has apologised for its ties to slavery, and racist attitudes towards the Windrush generation. The latter was marked by a two-minute silence as an act of “lament” on Windrush Day this week.

The commission is to start its work early next year and is tasked with driving forward “bold changes” to ensure racial equality.

The Church said the plans reflect a “zero tolerance” approach to tackling racism, while at the same time acknowledging that progress so far has been “insufficient”.

“For the Church to be a credible voice in calling for change across the world, we must now ensure that apologies and lament are accompanied by swift actions leading to real change,” said the House of Bishops.

In a vote on Wednesday, the House of Bishops also reiterated the Church’s formal apology for slavery, made in 2006.

At General Synod in February this year, the Church of England voted to apologise for the racism experienced by members of the Windrush generation in parishes across the country.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told General Synod at the time there was “no doubt” that the Church of England was still “deeply institutionally racist”.

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