Churches gear up again for Racial Justice Sunday

By staff writers
10 Aug 2009

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the official ecumenical body, is anticipating that thousands of Christians across the country will again mark Racial Justice Sunday this year.

The day takes place on 13 September 2009. CTBI has again produced materials for local churches which are available through their website. Hymns, sermons, biblical reflections, children's activities, stories and more can be downloaded at: http://www.ctbi.org.uk/396

Racial Justice Sunday (RJS) has been celebrated on the second Sunday in September since 1989. Since September 1995 it has become a recognised ecumenical event marked by churches of widely differing traditions throughout Britain and Ireland.

The Sunday is an opportunity for all Christians to join together in:

* Reflecting on the importance of racial justice
* Thanksgiving for human diversity
* Prayer for an end to misunderstanding, racism and injustice
* Action that truly makes a difference
* Fundraising for national and local racial justice initiatives

RJS offers a statement explaining both the purpose and the theological rationale of the event:

Why Celebrate Racial Justice Sunday?

We believe that the universe was created by a loving God who chose to become a human being in Jesus Christ, who has redeemed the world and sent the Holy Spirit to enable us to love one another with God’s love. All human beings are equally children of God and loved by God. Since none is outside the love of God, none should be outside our love either.

We believe that the diversity of the human race was no mistake on God’s part. God deliberately created variety within the human family and wants us to take as much delight in that variety as God does.

But racism persists in Britain and Ireland. At its most obvious and brutal, it takes the form of physical attacks, which sometimes end in murder. But it takes many other forms as well, like discrimination within the police force, popular prejudice against Travellers or people seeking asylum, or reluctance to accept people of a different ethnic or cultural group as neighbours. Even within churches, people can face discrimination and unkindness because they are different from the majority in a particular community.

As long as this continues, we believe that it is important to make time to give thanks for our diversity and to pray for God’s help in overcoming our prejudices and the injustices that reflect and reinforce them.

‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.’ (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN, 1948)

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