Racial Justice and Inclusion Task Group

The catalyst for the Racial Justice and Inclusion Task Group (RJITG) was the events of the summer of 2020 surrounding the violent murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA. In the autumn of 2020, a diverse group of eight people from across the diocese was invited by Bishop Michael Ipgrave to form the RJITG with the Revd Pamela Ogilvie and Archdeacon Julian Francis as co-convenors. The group began meeting in December 2020 and has shaped an agenda for racial justice across the diocese.

The present membership of the RJITG:

Canon Debbie Parkes (Co-convenor)

Revd Graham Adamson (Co-convenor)

Canon Theologian Dr Sharon Prentis

Andy Wynter

Revd Canon Dr Gregory Platten

Revd Treena Larkin

Revd Gilbert David

Revd Jassica Castillo-Burley

Revd Canon Dr Taiwo Olumuyiwa

Revd Yejide Peters



The Lichfield RJITG mirrors an initiative that began nationally. In July 2020, the Archbishops proposed to the House of Bishops that an ‘Archbishop’s Commission on Racism’ should be set up to implement ‘significant cultural and structural change’ within the Church of England on race. The commission would also monitor progress on implementing change. An Anti-Racism Task Force was put in place immediately to begin work on anti-racist policies for the Church of England and to frame an agenda for tackling systemic racism in the church. On 22 April 2022, From Lament to Action was published, a report on the nature of structural and systemic racism with an extensive action plan for implementation to begin to tackle the failings that have been evident over many, many decades. 

The RJITG have identified key priorities to address racism and are in the process of implementation.  These include:

  • UK Minority Ethnic/Global Majority Heritage (UKME/GMH) clergy recognised in the new pastoral support provision. 
  • Recruitment monitoring to establish UKME/GMH applying for vacancies and the success rate.
  • Consultants advising on inclusive processes and procedures.
  • Data collection on UKME/GMH presence and participation.
  • As an initial step, with the assistance of consultants, devising and circulating a confidential questionnaire to begin to hear, honour and value UKME/GMH people’s experience of ministry.
  • Commencement of Unconscious Bias Training by the Vocations and Training Team.
  • Meeting with Central Sector staff and officers to discuss the relevant action points for implementation in From Lament to Action.
  • Developing a procedure to deal effectively with racist incidents.
  • Bishops, as part of their ongoing training, to participate in ‘reverse mentoring’ with a member of UKME/GMH clergy/lay person from a different diocese who already serves as a mentor.
  • UKME priest to participate in Bishop’s Staff Meeting for a minimum of six months. 
  • Establish Racial Justice section on Diocesan website demonstrating commitment to racial justice and inclusion.
  • Working towards Racial Justice Officer provision for West Midlands dioceses supported by West Midlands bishops and central CofE.
  • RJITG as a resource providing support and advice to parishes addressing racial justice and inclusion.
  • Increasing UKME/GMH representation on Diocesan Synod (and Bishop’s Council).  The following were co-opted as members in 2021 for a term of three years:
    • Clive Thomas
    • Revd Dr David Isiorho
    • Debbie Parkes
    • Revd Jassica Castillo-Burley
    • Revd Jeremy Sylvester
    • Revd Romita Shrisunder
    • Sam Duru

In Lichfield we have the widest possible variety of urban, rural and suburban contexts. It is our strong desire as a RJITG to engage the whole of the diocese in this initiative for change. We are founding that aim on the conviction that racial justice is as much about white people as it is about people of colour. The way forward lies in a more discerning, honest, committed partnership that embraces the imperative of Micah 6.8 to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

We were glad to be able to welcome The Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng as guest speaker at a special event open to all at Lichfield Cathedral in November 2022 focusing on Racial Justice and Inclusion in the Church of England. 

He is the chair of the Archbishops' Commission on Racial Justice which delivered its important initial report 'From Lament to Action' in 2021 and its second in February 2023.

Windrush 75 in Lichfield Diocese

2023 marks the 75th anniversary of a moment that shaped modern Britain. Here's how we're marking it in this diocese

Latest Racial Justice stories

Sharing each others' gifts for the growth of the church

5th April 2024

Lichfield Diocese was well represented at the second Intercultural Church conference, hosted this year by Bishop Martyn Snow in Leicester Diocese just before Easter....

Black History Month - parish zooms conversation on faith, justice and the CofE

18th March 2024

The parish of St Andrews Church Aston welcomed Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin and Chine McDonald as special guests at their online book club....

Lichfield team join fledgling Anglican Network of Intercultural Church

18th March 2024

The diocese's Racial Justice and Inclusion Tasking Group sent a group of people to the first national conference around intercultural mission hosted by Oxford Diocese in Slough this week....

Debbie takes on racial justice role

18th March 2024

Canon Debbie Parks is the new Co-Convenor of the diocese's Racial Justice and Inclusion Task Group....

Lord Boateng to speak at racial justice event

18th March 2024

Lichfield Cathedral will host the landmark event to which all are welcome on 18 November....

Courage needed on racial justice journey

18th March 2024

Richard Reddie encourages churches to rise to the challenge at this year's Selwyn Lecture....
Powered by Church Edit