Ipswich church leaders speak out over racial discrimination

The Black Lives Matter protest in Christchurch Park, Ipswich was peaceful and protesters showed sign

The Black Lives Matter protest in Christchurch Park, Ipswich was peaceful and protesters showed signs and placards during the demonstration. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: Archant

Dozens of church leaders from the Ipswich area have joined the call for justice following the protests over racial discrimination following the death of George Floyd in America.

The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, right, and The Rt Rev Dr Mike Harris

The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, right, and The Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison, Bishop of Dunwich, have spoken of the need to fight discrimination and live in unity Picture: KEITH MINDHAM PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

Nearly 50 representatives of churches of a wide range of Christian denominations have signed a joint statement supporting those who face daily discrimination.

They said: “Many people in our community face racial discrimination every day. This discrimination, expressed in many forms, all too often goes unchecked. We must unite to call out racism wherever we see it and hold one another accountable for our words and actions.

“We reaffirm our commitment to eradicating all forms of racism in all parts of society because every human life is precious and honoured by God.

“We ask you to join us to shine as lights in the darkness, to uncover the forces of prejudice and discrimination that still divide our community.”

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The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “George Floyd’s shocking death brings the sin of racism into sharp focus, just at the very time we have been rediscovering our common humanity during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are all children of God, and we celebrate our differences as gift, not to use them to divide and destroy.

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“Every time we respond to someone or a group of people in any way that demeans them or makes them less than us, we have started on that path of evil.

“I pray that this terrible tragedy will push us all to root out racism and prejudice, in whatever form it appears.”

The Rt Rev Rev Dr Mike Harrison, Bishop of Dunwich, said: “George Floyd’s death is not an isolated incident but part of a wider set of injustices and violent racism that needs calling out for what it is.

“As Christians committed to an understanding of human beings made in God’s image, all absolutely invaluable in God’s sight, and those committed to a God of justice, we cannot stand mutely by and allow these kind of incidents to go by in silence.

“The level of endorsement of this statement by Ipswich churches is unheard of and bespeaks the passion we have as Christians for justice and equality – and is an assertion of our public solidarity with those standing against all forms of racism and abuse of institutional power.”

Those who signed the statement:

1. Pastor Harold Afflu (Lead Pastor, Ipswich International Church, Elim)

2. The Rt Rev Martin Seeley (Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Church of England)

3. The Rt Rev Mike Harrison (Bishop of Dunwich, Church of England)

4. Rev Peterson Anand (Minister of Nansen Road Baptist Church, Ipswich)

5. Derek Austin (Churchwarden, St Mary’s, Witnesham)

6. Jim Bird (Churchwarden, St Martin’s Church, Tuddenham St Martin)

7. Rev Jutta Brueck (St Thomas the Apostle, Ipswich)

8. Jerry Brown (Colchester Road Baptist Church, Ipswich)

9. Rev Andy Buttress (Bridge Church Ipswich)

10. Rev Lawrence Carey (Triangle Church Ipswich)

11. Rev Stuart Clarke (Moderator, Holly Lodge Baptist Church)

12. Rev Celia Cook (Ipswich Hospital Chaplaincy)

13. Rev Neil Coulson (Christ Church URC/Baptist, Ipswich)

14. Rev Holly Crompton-Battersby (Chaplain, Ipswich School)

15. David Cutts (Vicar St Margaret’s Ipswich)

16. Andrew Docherty (Bethesda Baptist Church)

17. Rev Julian Fennell (Vicar in the Team of SWITM)

18. Rev Morag Finch (St Elizabeth Hospice)

19. Penny and Paul Finn (Ipswich Vineyard)

20. Rev Alan Forsdike (Chaplain to Inspiring Ipswich)

21. Rev Susan D Foster (Vicar of Rushmere St Andrew)

22. Simon Harris (Senior Minister, Burlington Baptist Church)

23. Lieutenants Jonathan & Lottie Heward (The Salvation Army, Bramford Road, Ipswich)

24. Rev Robert Hinsley (Team Rector in the South West Ipswich Team Ministry)

25. Rev Fr Alan Hodgson (St Mary’s Catholic Church)

26. Rev Canon Charles Jenkin (Vicar, St Mary-le-Tower church)

27. Amy Key (St Augustine’s)

28. Venerable Rhiannon King (Archdeacon of Ipswich)

29. Major Loes Palmer (Salvation Army, Woodbridge Road)

30. Touch & Favour Malefo (Parish Pastors, Ipswich Trinity Praise Centre)

31. Rev Carol Mansell (All Hallows Church, Ipswich)

32. Rev Heather Marsden (Rushmere Baptist Church)

33. Rev Danny Morrison (Vicar, All Saints, Ipswich)

34. Pastor Shirley Powell (Senior Pastor, True Vine Church)

35. Rev David Rees (Ipswich and East United Reformed Churches)

36. Simon Robinson, Minister (Shepherd Drive Baptist Church, Ipswich)

37. Mary Scholey (Churchwarden, St Mary Magdalene Church, Westerfield)

38. The Rev Mary Sokanovic (Priest-In-Charge, Whitton with Thurleston and Akenham)

39. Tom Scrivens (Hope Church Ipswich)

40. Pastor Nathan Simmonds (Bethel Apostolic Church, Ipswich)

41. Rod Stone (Ipswich Community Church)

42. Pastor Myrtle White (Shiloh Church)

And from the Methodist churches in and around Ipswich:

43. Rev Derek Grimshaw

44. Rev Diane Smith

45. Rev Ian Gardner

46. Rev Andrew Sankey

47. Rev Martin Dawes and

48. Rev Joan Pell along with Circuit Stewards: Mr Chris Finbow, Mrs Diana Sawyer, Dr Liz Cope, Mrs Judith Steward, Mrs Elizabeth Storey and Mr Neil Hepplethwaite, representing the Methodist Churches at Alan Road, Bramford, Bramford Road, Brantham, Capel St Mary, Chantry, Chelmondiston, Elmsett, Framlingham, Holbrook, Kirton, Landseer Road, Museum Street, Orford, Seaton Road, Trimley, Trinity Felixstowe and Woodbridge.

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