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In recent weeks we have all seen and felt the immense pain of racial injustice. So much has been brought to the surface following the death of George Floyd.
The Board of Essential Christian (the Charity that runs Spring Harvest) recognises that it is easy to mouth platitudes, and that words are not enough. Nonetheless, we believe it is vital we respond to this devastating reminder that there is still a long way to go until all are equal. We stand with all our brothers and sisters in Christ in strongly condemning racism in all its forms. We are sorry for any part we may have played in, and regret where we have not done enough to combat racism.
At Spring Harvest in recent years, we have been intentionally pursuing better integration and have made encouraging progress. People from different ethnic minority and cultural backgrounds are core members of our team and friends around the table. We intentionally invite open conversations with many friends, and plan together, so that we can better engage with the issues of racial injustice and reconciliation. We know there is still a long way to go and remain committed to the journey. We believe the gospel of Jesus Christ requires that we work for change – and for the Church to truly reflect the new humanity in which we are all one in Christ Jesus.
We hope to provide some constructive resources to aid our thinking around these issues. During the week beginning 22 June, our daily 10am YouTube devotionals will be led by people with experience of racial injustice starting with Beatrice Smith. Beatrice is part of the Spring Harvest team and has a powerful story, with members of her family continuing to experience legal injustice today. Her book, The Search for Home makes compelling reading. We are delighted that Les Isaac, founder of Street Pastors and a regular Spring Harvest speaker, will also contribute.
At Minehead in 2017, as we explored the topic of unity, Chair of the One People Commission, Yemi Adedeji and then Director of the Evangelical Alliance, Steve Clifford spoke about “Disagreeing Well” together in our arena venue and were interviewed about their journey of friendship and church integration. You can watch this powerful moment here.
On Thursday 18 June at 8.00pm, Yemi and Steve will be live on our Spring Harvest YouTube Channel to take your questions. Do send some in advance and join us at the time to pose more. Their excellent book The (Im)Possible Dream was produced to help leaders and leadership teams work towards better ethnic integration within our churches, organisations and communities.
On Thursday 25 June at 8.00pm, also on YouTube, Gavin Calver, Chair of the Spring Harvest Planning Group and CEO of the Evangelical Alliance, will interview Ben Lindsay, Pastor, Activist and Author of We Need to Talk About Race. It’s a brilliant book and Ben has so much helpful experience and advice for individuals and churches who want to make progress in this field.
Please join us for these sessions which we hope will help us talk more openly and take further steps towards equality. We will continue looking to Jesus, listening to each other and learning to change as we ask for God’s help in honouring his image in us.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit,and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplatethe Lord’s glory,are being transformed into his imagewith ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Further Helpful Resources
We agree wholeheartedly with the clarion call for justice from Yemi Adedeji and Gavin Calver released by the Evangelical Alliance, of which we are a member. Yemi and Gavin are also part of our Spring Harvest Planning Group.
Christianity and Racism conversation chaired by Chine McDonald for BBC Sounds.
God Is Not a White Man & Other Revelations by Chine McDonald will be published by Hodder Faith in summer 2021.
An MP3 talk from Spring Harvest 2017: Yemi Adedeji and Steve Clifford – Thank God We’re Different
An MP3 talk from Spring Harvest 2017: Chine McDonald – How Race and Gender Impact our Unity as Christians
An MP3 talk from New Wine 2019: Ben Lindsay – We Need to Talk About Race
A video talk from Spring Harvest Home 2020: Yemi Adedeji – Unleashed Integration
A video talk from Spring Harvest Home 2020: Usha Reifsnider – Cross-cultural mission in relation to migrants
Book lists for exploring racial justice with children:
The Gospel Coalition – Five children’s books on racism and the gospel
PBS Kids – Children’s books about race and diversity