Pastor Calvin Young
Churches across Birmingham are building relationships across denominations and racial divides, because together we believe we can do some great things.
We are building unity across our city and across the churches – White, Black, Asian and multicultural churches. We are living in times of great opportunity.
The murder of George Floyd and the world’s reaction has brought us to a place where we believe the Holy Spirit is bringing about a reformation within the church and within our society.
Relationship is absolutely crucial if we’re to move forward.
Bishop Dr Desmond Jaddoo & Maxi Hayles MBE Interview
When our parents arrived [from the West Indies] and went to church here, they were often rejected and told not to come back next week, and so the black churches came about mainly from the rejection from white institutional churches [of the day].
The recent global awareness of racial discrimination has provoked a national outcry and a debate that is ongoing. We can see signs that some businesses are determined to make structural changes.
The churches are now coming together to have this uncomfortable conversation regarding race and regarding these past indiscretions as well. Do you welcome that?
O yes, most definitely… I love the initiative that the churches have decided to bring forward.
Bishop Tedroy Powell (Church of God of Prophecy)
We need to look inwards – consider our own attitudes, our actions and our responses. In addition, we need to look outwards – let us reach across to our brothers and sisters of different hue and ethnicity, different places in the social strata. Work with them in our churches. Only when the church begins to be the light, then this world of darkness will really take note.
Dr Carver Anderson
As a second generation Windrush son, I have a son myself who went through a lot of pain like I did, like my father – so there are at least 3 generations in our communities that’s been through racial abuse, oppression, been called the ‘N-word and we know that we have a history that is very pained.
But as we come together, we need racial justice, unity, compassion, prophetic utterances and a healing in our communities, our neighbourhoods, our churches even.
When George Floyd was brutally murdered, it triggered pain for my own son, who was beaten when he was 8 by two white young men. And when George Floyd was murdered it brought it all back to him. My father who is 90 on his next birthday also felt pain – as he was beaten by three white men at work when he was working in West Bromwich. I too, went through being called the ‘N’-word and being taunted by white young men. How do we share this pain together?
Jesus said: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… to preach good news…
We are likewise anointed, to address issues where people are emotionally and psychologically blind, to address issues of inequality and racism.
The language of agreement is not good enough. We have to be acting with agreement.
Deverton Douglas - New Testament Church of God
Jesus Christ achieved so much in purchasing our salvation. In the midst of that there is a graphic picture of the demolition of the walls of partition.
A graphic picture of the rending of the veil. The 'word' that is in my spirit is synergy in the body of Christ.
When we talk about the heart of God it’s evangelism and mission. How fantastic and great it would be if the church would work together to win the world.
Having boarded the bus and the bus can’t move, let us get off and look under the bus and what’s in front of the wheels. Let’s remove the blockage, let’s fill up the potholes. What ever we call them whether we call them racism, disunity etc. Let’s stare them in the face, deal with them one by one so this bus can leave and we can synergise.
David Urquhart - Church of England
Isaiah 58:12 says 'you shall be the repairer of the breach and restorer of streets to dwelling' - there has always been a passion for the city for me.
Levelling the playing field of racial injustice. The purpose for our meeting is to eradicate racism. From that flows the whole economic issue and all the other activities. For me I don’t want to wait 10 years, it’s far too long.
That is so hard, because for generations we’ve been trying to do this in the UK and in Birmingham - that is what God has put on my heart.
Jonathan Bell - Church Central
I agree, eradicate racism, a level playing field - all of that.
I would love the drive for us to get there in the church in Birmingham.
It’s modelling something in the church that is the provocation and an inspiration and a bringer of hope in our city that this can be done and this is what it looks like, and this is why it’s worth fighting for.
Getting it right amongst ourselves is going to require much conversation and generosity of spirit, modelling it in the church as a demonstration to the city so that it can come to pass and be adhered to.
Malcolm Oliver - Methodist Church
'Seek first Gods kingdom and his righteousness' - Matthew 6:33
It’s great to be part of this gathering now, how do we extend that using the zoom platform which has created something for us that we have not had, and we can really use this tool to enable what people are saying.
We need to continue to get the right people around the table.
David Evans - Roman Catholic
What I’m hearing in summary is:
Relationships, unity and transformation.
The groups can take these as the aims.
Mark Ryan - Birmingham City Church - Elim
The scripture in Isaiah 66:8 asks: 'Can a nation be born in the day?
The prophet answers and says, 'Yet no sooner is Zion in labour than she gives birth to her children'.
Prophetically if we would have the courage to have this honest conversation and model something, I believe it will be the catalyst in many areas of the city.
Can a nation be born in the day? If we’re talking about a spiritual nation, God says 'yes'.
We need to say, therefore, 'Lord, bring it forth'. The birth of something that is honest and together - that models the conversation.
We have some solid themes that if we speak of them, then they will happen. We will begin to catalyse with the next generation.
The next generation is looking to assess and, actually, they are leading us in many ways.
If we don’t speak and start to say, hey, this is what we want to say, to hear, things won’t come about.
But if we begin to take action and speak, starting with the honest conversations that will catalyse something that’s prophetic, people will jump on board. People will say this is real.
Let’s demonstrate that we can talk to each other, that’s the first step, Because I believe a nation can be born in the day with the godly agenda of the kingdom.
Andy Mackie - Engage West Midlands & Riverside Church
Isaiah 61:4 uses three of the 'Re' words of the Bible - 'restore, rebuild and renew'. That's what we have to be about. That's what God's kingdom does. Rebuilding the foundations that have been devastated.
As we walk together, build relationships with one another, listen to one another as we have those conversations around racism, we can move forward. We need to find ways of getting stories and resources into peoples hands. There are people who need to hear even simple, yet profound, statements such as “I am very happy for you to call me black, but not coloured...”
The big question is, “What can God do in our city?“
What is God’s heart for Birmingham?
God's heart is so much bigger than what we can ask or ever imagine.
Re-building is such a key thing.
What is God calling us to rebuild in the city?
Some of the things are around the racism issues. But also hope for young people. How do we collaborate as churches, how do we move from separate pockets?
My vision would be for 'the best collaboration and working together in the United Kingdom,' because there is a particular call on our city as the heart of the nation. God has always had his hand upon the heartbeat of the nation.
Building on Isaiah 61 takes you into Nehemiah, he starts to weep, mourn and pray for a city, but then they start to work together to rebuild the walls, it took them 52 days to fulfil something which was promised by God. This remarkable move, when they started to rebuild God was with them. What can God do is the big question, but God is with us in the big drive.
Neville Fletcher - Church of God of Prophecy
Jesus said "by this all men know that you are my disciples, if we have love one for another."
We walk under that prophetic word of Christ and as people see Christ within us we will send out a very powerful message to our community.
Jesus prayed for the spirit of oneness, and we know what unity can achieve, great things.
Desmond Jaddoo - West Midlands Faith in Action
Now is the time for us to focus on that season of change and transformation, restoration, reconciliation and healing.
We have to start this amongst ourselves first.
Adrian Hurst - Oasis Church
I keep coming because I’m committed to this moment of gathering of oneness, which is about love.
This season is about your commitment to unity, listening and understanding that will bring healing and out of that will come togetherness.
I believe we must not rush that process, but we must do first things first.
Then will come a deeper sense of prayer together, a commitment if we’ve got one another’s backs, as one. Then come the actions in the city, I really feel there is something in terms of the next season of understanding, healing and togetherness.
Paul McCalla - Church of God of Prophecy
Jesus said, “you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free."
There are some truths that needs to be spoken, in order to create the environment of freedom for us to move forward.
Bryan Scott - Cannon St Memorial Baptist Church
We need to seize the time, the moment, otherwise we are going to miss it.
My question is, what are we going to do, why we are going to do it and how are we going to do it. We can talk, talk, talk, but this is what it boils down to.
Calvin Young - Mount Zion Community Church -Assemblies of God
My heart was described in the letter which I wrote to everyone regarding the urgency and the need for unity and harmony in the body of Christ in order to effectively address the spirit of racism.
Psalm 133 - 'how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony' -for harmony is as precious as the anointing oil. The anointing oil represents the Holy Spirit, how precious is he to us?
For me it’s not just the denominations coming together, it’s having a dynamic sense of the Spirit of God, the unity and harmony of hearts to bring about the one voice through the church of Jesus Christ both to the church and to the world.
Pauline Young - Mount Zion Community Church -Assemblies of God
Isaiah 58, we are here to bring down walls, bring restoration and bring about healing.
We are here for our city, we are coming together for our nation.
We are coming together to effect and fix something in our world and to bring about the kingdom of God.