To mark the second anniversary of the killing of George Floyd, Christians across the nation will be uniting on 25 May at noon to light a #CandleOfJustice, pray and commit to taking personal and institutional action to tackle racism in our society and our churches.
“We invite the nation to share their stories of the work they have done in challenging racial injustice and highlighting the systems they have set up to tackle racism within their churches and within broader society. We also ask that they recommit to continuing their work in tackling racism and enabling a fair, equal and equitable society for all. We recognise that there is still a lot more work to do,” says CTE’s Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations, Shermara Fletcher.
Reflecting on this anniversary CTE President and Moderator of the Free Churches Group Rev Helen Cameron says “We all remember the moment we heard about the death of George Floyd murdered by a white policeman standing on his neck. Since then, sadly we have all witnessed or heard testimony of countless other acts of racist hatred and injustice. It is not enough for good people to be horrified but then do nothing to work for change. We must dismantle white privilege, name racism when we encounter it, and commit ourselves to change. This will be costly but God calls us to seek justice and unearth hope for all.”
Churches Together in England (CTE) is the national ecumenical instrument supporting and encouraging churches from a wide range of traditions to work together in unity. CTE brings together 52 national Member Churches. With churches drawn from the Anglican, Catholic, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Orthodox and Lutheran traditions, as well as Free Churches, Quakers and others, CTE unites one of the broadest range of churches in the whole of Europe.
Further information and a range of resources can be found at www.cte.org.uk/candleofjustice – including a prayer written by representatives from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the Evangelical Alliance, the National Church Leaders Forum and CTE.
The #CandleOfJustice prayer reads:
We come before you today repenting of our lack of engagement with justice concerns.
Forgive us when we commit the sin of racism and forgive our systems and institutions when they fail in this area.
Enable us by your divine grace and your Holy Spirit to confront racial injustice, inequality and renew our commitment to pursuing racial justice.
Let our churches and organisations be at the forefront of advancing racial justice concerns and denouncing any form of abuse through your kingdom on earth.
Help us to continually seek the image of Christ in others and remind us that we, your people, are made in the image of a God of justice who calls on us to ‘act justly’.
Help us to resist the evil temptation to exclude, discriminate and uphold harmful ideologies that cause division and hate in our communities and church.
We pray as a nation that we move beyond seeing racial equality as a moment, but as a movement towards your justice
Give us the courage to stand up for justice in those places and spaces
inhabited by the sin of racism, which has no place in your kingdom.
Take away the well-meaning, but unhelpful ‘colour blind’ theologies that deny the reality of the racism faced by many in our churches and society.
May we know that their struggles are our struggles,
because racial justice is everyone’s business.
If the world insists that the black lives on the margins are weak,
Remind us that in your kingdom those at the margins are seen as strong.
If the work tells us of that the fate of the just must be dictated by the unjust
Remind us that in your kingdom the unjust are transformed by the just.
If the world declares that racial terror does not exist,
Remind us that in your kingdom truth joins hands with justice.
If the world believes there is nothing more to hope for,
Remind us that your kingdom is built by those who hope and believe change will come.
How to join in on 25 May:
Individuals and churches are encouraged to follow these five simple steps to get involved:
1. At noon, pause for one minute to remember George Floyd and all those who experience racism
2. Light your candle* (or shine a light from your phone)
3. Pray using the #CandleOfJustice prayer
4. Pause, reflect and make a personal commitment to tackling racial injustice
5. Share on social media – upload your candle photo or share the Candle of Justice prayer graphic (use the hashtag #CandleOfJustice and tag in @ChurchesEngland)
*Safety note – please take all necessary fire precautions when using a lit candle, and never leave it unattended.