Leaders of the Church of England unanimously passed a motion apologizing for past racism, in particular regarding the treatment of African and Asian immigrants.
The General Synod passed the motion on Tuesday, with the motion focusing on a group of immigrants known as “Windrush Generation.” The generation were minority British citizens from the Caribbean who immigrated to the United Kingdom between the years 1948 and 1971. They were named after the ship Empire Windrush, which brought 500 of them in 1948.
According to the motion, the Synod offered a “lament” and apology for “the conscious and unconscious racism experienced by countless black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Anglicans in 1948 and subsequent years, when seeking to find a spiritual home in their local Church of England parish churches …”
The motion also called for, among other things, the Archbishops’ Council to research the impact of discrimination, gratitude for the contributions racial minorities have made to the Church, and for an “independent person external to the Church” to investigate how the ecclesiastical body can better achieve racial reconciliation.
The General Synod also called on the church body to “resolve to continue, with great effort and urgency, to stamp out all forms of conscious or unconscious racism.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivered a speech before the General Synod, informing them that the problem of racism still remained.
“I'm ashamed of our history and I'm ashamed of our failure. There is no doubt when we look at our own Church that we are still deeply institutionally racist,” stated Archbishop Welby, as reported by the BBC.
“I said it to the College of Bishops a couple of years ago and it's [still] true,” he added, calling upon the church body to change its "hostile environment" to a "hospitable, welcoming one.”
The motion was championed by Synod member the Rev. Andrew Moughtin-Mumby, who said in comments reported by The Guardian last month that he believed the church body needed to “get our house in order.”
“We know that many people did not find a home and simply left the C of E – a scandal for us,” stated Moughtin-Mumby, who added that while some Windrush generation did find acceptance in the Church, others experienced bigotry.
“We need to admit that the church is in some ways institutionally racist because we have not managed to create a space in which everyone can flourish.”
The motion was part of the official meeting of the General Synod, which began on Monday and is scheduled to conclude on Thursday.
Considered the national assembly of the Church of England, the General Synod debates church legislation, worship forms, the budget, and other matters.
The leadership body has 483 members divided among three branches: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy, and the House of Laity.