The parish of St Andrews Church Aston joined in Black History Month by hosting a zoom conversation with participants of national significance - Chine McDonald (director of the Theos think tank, journalist, author and theologian) and Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin (the first black, female bishop in the Church of England, Bishop of Dover and former Lichfield Diocese curate).
The event grew out of the parish's online book club that began in lockdown and meets monthly looking at a wide variety of books.
One of the parishioners, Mani Alexander, explains the genesis of the event: "We'd had discussions about how we could join in with BHM and it's theme this year...so we approached Bishop Rose and Chine, whose powerful latest book God Is Not A White Man we've been reading and discussing at Book Group. We were so excited that they both agreed to take part!"
The 70-minute discussion involved the two guests introducing themselves, their interests and experience before taking questions from book club members and others who had accepted the open invitation to join.
The video is available on the St Andrews Church Aston Facebook page.
The vicar of St Andrews, Revd Zoe Heming has been part of the book group from the start and found the enthusiasm of the group to read varied books and be open to discuss their reactions to them.
"For a rural, mostly white congregations, this conversation opens our eyes to how much our British Christianity is shaped not just by the ancient church fathers, but white, post-enlightenment, western theologians and colonialism and is challenged by life and faith experienced from other cultures and backgrounds.
"Both women so confidently explained how their own experiences, faith journeys and evolving understanding of the Bible had drawn them closer to God. They spoke so powerfully of what difference it makes to see black women represented in the faith and the church."