Statement from Leaders of Churches and Christian Organisations in Reading

Considerable elements reproduced with the kind permission of Southampton Christian Network.

As a group of churches and Christian organisations across and around Reading, we want to join together and say that we stand against racism, bullying, discrimination and prejudice in all its forms.

As the appalling events around the brutal killing of George Floyd have reverberated around the world, we join our prayers and our energy to ask God to bring an end to racial injustice. Racial justice is not just a black or white issue; it is a Kingdom of God issue. Jesus came to destroy every dividing wall of hostility to make one new humanity in Christ!

As church leaders from both white and BAME backgrounds we stand together in love and humility as brothers and sisters in the church and as members of the wider community of the city. We love and appreciate one another, and thank God for one another.

We reflect on God’s call for justice as his word gives guidance in moments like this.

Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

Injustice affects us all but we acknowledge that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic peoples community have had to carry unbearable oppression and discrimination.

The Church was born into a racially divided world but quickly became a counter-cultural outpost of hope where both Jew and Gentile worshipped together. Only the power of the cross can bring this about. Our prayer is that every church in and around Reading shines brightly in this moment as an outpost of hope and love for every victim of racial injustice. 

There are many ways we can each respond and many ways we must. We can engage with the issues to the point that we have solidarity with those who suffer oppression. We can listen and have listened to the stories of those who have suffered racial injustice first-hand. We can learn from those who have been fighting this battle for a long time. We can speak up to defend those whom God loves. We can repent from our own unconscious racism where God reveals our hearts, joining in with prayer of Psalm 139:23-24. And ultimately, we can pray. Pray to the God whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom where there is no more weeping or mourning; to a God who is compassionate and abounding in steadfast love. 

Friends, let’s pray and call on God for His Kingdom to come on the earth. It’s time for the Church to arise.

Throughout the last 20 years of Transform Reading, we have had leadership that has been diverse racially and ecclesiastically, with honour underpinning our relationships and we continue to reach out to all communities that wish to journey with us.

 He has told you, O mortal, what is good;

    and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

    and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Yinka Oyekan – Pastor, The Gate Church and President Baptist Union

Neville Hollands – Pastor LifeSpring Church

Billy Fenning – Pastor All Nations Church

Joel Thomas – Pastor Church of God Worldwide Mission (The Globe)

Steve Prince – Pastor Brookside Church and Chaplain to Reading Football Club

Sean Green – Pastor Reading Family Church

Joy Atkins – Vicar New Hope Church

Pads Dolphin – Vicar St Matthews Church

Alan Magness – Transform Reading

David Walker – Vicar Greyfriars Church

Laura Eades – Transform Reading

John Ledger – Trustee, Transform Reading

Alan Tower – Friends International

Treflyn Lloyd-Roberts – CEO Yeldall Manor

Dr Claire Bankole – CEO Shift Youth & Community

Stuart Jarvis – REACH

The Mustard Tree

Christian Community Action