Archbishop of York visits St Peter's Church in Burnley for Racial Justice Sunday commissioning

The second most senior cleric in the Church of England, the Archbishop of York, visited Burnley this weekend as part of Racial Justice Sunday.
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The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. and Rt Hon. Stephen Cottrell, visited St Peter’s Church in Burnley on Sunday to commission the members of the new Racial Justice Group for The Church of England in Lancashire (Blackburn Diocese).

The commissioning event took place in the afternoon following a special morning service for Racial Justice Sunday at St Peter's which was attended by civic and community dignitaries from across the town. They included the Burnley Mayor, Coun. Raja Arif Khan; leader of Burnley Council, Coun. Afrasiab Anwar and many members of the ‘Building Bridges in Burnley’ team.

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Archbishop Stephen also features in a brand new video from the Diocese, released now on YouTube to coincide with the commissioning, and looking at the importance of racial justice for our Diocese now and in the future.

Members of Building Bridges in Burnley with the Archbishop of York at St Peter's Church. PICTURE: Clive LawrenceMembers of Building Bridges in Burnley with the Archbishop of York at St Peter's Church. PICTURE: Clive Lawrence
Members of Building Bridges in Burnley with the Archbishop of York at St Peter's Church. PICTURE: Clive Lawrence

The video features many contributions, including several from key figures in the Diocesan Board of Education. They include some headteachers from our many church schools across the County; with all speaking of the importance of keeping racial justice front and centre in our work.

In the video, Archbishop Stephen says: “It's really good to be back in Lancashire and alongside Bishop Philip to commission the Racial Justice Group for the diocese and to celebrate Racial Justice Sunday in this way.

“I want to be part of a church which includes every tribe, every language, every nation. Racial justice really, really matters because it's part of the call of the gospel, the heart cry of God.”

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The Archbishop added: “May we all reflect on the importance of racial justice, give thanks for the gifts and beauty of human diversity and commit to do what we can to help end racism and acts of discrimination.”

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Our Bishop's Adviser on UKME and Global Majority Heritage Matters, Rev. Canon Sarah Gill, added: “We are really committed to this work and are having really positive conversations across the Diocese, especially since our Racial Justice Policy was approved by our Diocesan Synod; this led to the founding of the Racial Justice Group.

“We are grateful and excited to welcome Archbishop Stephen for Racial Justice Sunday to commission the group as begin our work in earnest - from networking to training events and much more.”

And Bishop Philip commented: “The very heart of the gospel we proclaim is God in Jesus coming to take on human form. That tells us something very important about the beauty and preciousness and dignity of every human life, made in the image of God. That's why racial justice should matter so much to the Church and to us as a Diocese.

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“I'm really delighted the Archbishop was able to join us to commission our Racial Justice Group. I commend the work they are doing to our parishes and our schools as we seek to address racism and grow really healthy churches that can transform the communities in which they are set.”