On Racial Justice Sunday, 12 September 2004 the Churches' Commission for Racial Justice will invite Christians to say 'yes' to diversity and dignity for all and 'no' to injustice and racial discrimination.
CCRJ (a commission of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland) has produced a pack of resources for the day to guide churches to pray for an end to misunderstanding, racism and injustice.
Commission Moderator the Revd Myra Blyth explains: 'In local and European elections, which take place this year, we will see hard evidence of just how intense is the struggle in our communities to celebrate diversity. Racist political agendas explicitly seek to exclude people from the table and to turn away the stranger.
'On Racial Justice Sunday, churches throughout these islands will sing a stubborn song of defiance which celebrates that the God in whom we trust is the God of one race - the human race,' she said.
Racial Justice Sunday is coordinated by CCRJ in cooperation with the Catholic Association for Racial Justice. Richard Zipfel, Community Relations Adviser for the Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales said: 'This event each year is an opportunity for all Christians to pray together and to contribute to a united effort to overcome racism.'
The challenge to the churches for this annual focus on racial justice is to understand the feelings of people from different cultures, and become more inclusive and outward looking. Some churches fundraise for projects supported by the Ecumenical Racial Justice Fund. Projects include "Football Unites, Racism Divides" in Sheffield, which works to combat racism in sports; and the Kurdish Information and Advocacy Centre in London.
As well as striking posters, the pack contains a prayer leaflet and plenty of ideas for what to do on and after Racial Justice Sunday. There are sermon notes, drama sketches and stories from people who have suffered racism.