Black Christian leaders in Britain have hailed the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States as a defining moment in the history of most powerful nation in the world and great symbol for black people globally.
The Black Christian Leaders Forum, formed of key black church leaders in the United Kingdom, responded to Obama’s election victory this week, which will make him the first African-American in the White House.
The majority of Britain's black-led and black-majority churches are evangelical in character.
In the United States, a majority of evangelicals seem to have voted for Republican John McCain, but a surprising and growing number rallied behind Mr Obama, who would be seen by many as a liberal Christian, indicating the shifting demography of American religion.
A jubilant Obama reminded his supporters in Chicago: “If there is anyone who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”
Dr R. David Muir, public policy advisor for the Evangelical Alliance UK, speaking from the Black Christian Leaders Forum, said: “This is a defining moment in American political history. I congratulate Barack Obama on his historic victory. I also pay tribute to Senator Mc Cain’s gracious words in defeat."
He added: “Of course, the election of an African American to the White House is a great symbol for black people all around the world. But it is also more than that. It says that America has come of age; it says that America is living up to its noble ideals enshrined in its Constitution and founding documents.
“Ultimately, it is the realisation and triumph of Martin Luther King’s dream of a person being judged not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
The Black Christian Leaders Forum (BCLF) describes itself as existing "to bring together the diversity of hearts and minds of Black Christian leaders who share a common vision for social transformation."
Core group members of the BCLF are: Bishop Rev Dr Joe Aldred – Churches Together in England; Bishop John Francis – Founder and Senior Pastor of Ruach Ministries; Rev Esme Beswick - Joint Council for Anglo-Caribbean Churches; Rev Dr Joel Edwards – former General Director of the Evangelical Alliance; Rev Katei Kirby – Chief Executive Officer of the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance; Dr R David Muir – Public Policy Director of the Evangelical Alliance; Rev Nims Obunge – Chief Executive Officer of the Peace Alliance; Rev Dr Albert Odulele – Senior Pastor, Glory House Church, and Pastor Ade Omooba – Coherent and Cohesive Voice campaigns