CARJ Webinar series: The Struggle for Racial Justice

The Struggle for Racial Justice: Recalling the past and discerning the future. A CARJ series of webinars will take place from May to August 2023. The aim of these webinars is to reflect on the history of the past 75 years and attempt to discern the best ways forward for society and for the Church in the effort to bring about a more just, more equal and more cooperative society.

The Webinars will take place on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. Each Webinar will last for an hour and a half. There will be two speakers and ample time for discussion. Yogi Sutton will Chair the Webinars. The Webinars are free. To register for one or more webinars or if you need further information, please contact the CARJ Administrator at A link will be sent to all who register. The Webinars will be recorded and will be available on the CARJ website until the end of August 2023.

The Changing Face of Britain – A Brief History 1947-2023 – Saturday 27 May (10 – 11.30am)

Persistent inequality and Racism over the past 75 years – Thursday 15 June (7 – 8.30pm)

Combatting Racism – different approaches over the past 75 years – Thursday 29 June (7 – 8.30pm)

The Churches role in combatting racism over the past 75 years – Thursday 6 July (7 – 8.30pm)

Combatting racism – An Agenda for the Future for Britain – Saturday 29 July (10 – 11.30am)

The Church’s role in the struggle for Racial Justice in the future – Thursday 3 August (7 – 8.30pm)

These Webinars are a preparation for CARJ’s 40th Anniversary in 2024.



Working Together for Racial Justice – Reflection by Nalini Nathan

Nalini Nathan, General Secretary of the Conference of Religious and a trustee of CARJ, the Catholic Association for Racial Justice, offers three thoughts to help us focus on ‘Working Together’ for racial justice.

On 5 February, the Catholic Church in England and Wales celebrates Racial Justice Sunday. It’s the day the Church focuses on the need to oppose racism and pursue racial justice with renewed vigour.

The theme for 2023 is “All are included in the mission of Christ and His Church. Let us walk together, pray together and work together.”

This reflection, from Nalini Nathan, General Secretary of the Conference of Religious and a trustee of CARJ, focuses on ‘Working Together’ for racial justice.


My name is Nalini, and I am the General Secretary for the Conference of Religious in England and Wales. I am also a member of the Christian Network Against Caste Discrimination and a trustee for a number of charities including CARJ, the Catholic Association for Racial Justice and the Margaret Clitherow Trust which supports Traveller, Gypsy and Roma communities.

In the next few minutes, I’ll be sharing three ponderings I have about working together if every race and ethnicity are to be included in the mission of Christ and His Church.

Firstly, our unique ancestries are a gift. The world has been blessed with such a broad diversity of cultures and therefore perspectives, knowledge, skills and experiences. Working with different people to ourselves should, I think feel like being in a sweet shop.  I want mine and all cultures to be seen for what they are, a gift from God!

I should be so grateful that God has blessed me with chocolate brown skin that protects me from harmful rays, from cancer, even from wrinkles! I save so much money not needing to use sunbeds or fake tan. But more seriously, so often in life, my skin colour has been a hindrance. There’s the avoidance, that change in tone when someone speaks to you, the ignorant mistaken or at times deliberate aggressive comments, the being overlooked for promotion when you’re the most qualified or experienced person for the job. There’s the scapegoating,  the stepping on, the passive-aggressive behaviours and the trauma of healing from ignorant comments, isolation and oppression. As a Catholic, I find this at odds with my faith. I was taught that like everyone, that I am made not just good but very good, that we are all made very good, each called to be a jewel in God’s crown.

Secondly, I want to mention privilege. I come from more than one culture. That’s my privilege, that’s one of my blessings. I humbly embrace my cultural privilege. It helps me be a better Christian, a better Catholic as it increases me empathy, compassion and communication skills to relate to the stranger, to relate to the outsider, to relate to the person who is being treated as invisible.

Privilege has become the dirty word of our post-covid society. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being given privilege. It’s your talent, it’s your gift. There’s nothing wrong with having privilege if you are a Catholic as long as you are using it for the glory of God and as long as you are not stealing it from someone else.

I wonder, are we aware of our privileges, if so, how are we using them to work with and support others? How are we using them to help others flourish?

Finally, I want to reflect on how we might look at each other through the eyes of God. The first thing we are told in the bible is that God is a creator. ‘In the beginning he created…’ I look at the diversity of what he has created, the diversity of plants and wildlife. God is clearly a creator of diversity. We are taught that we are the Body of Christ. Are our cultures also different parts of this Body, which are meant to work together to build up the kingdom of God? If we oppress one part of the body, one culture, are we damaging ourselves?

Like those of different cultures who face rejection in their workplaces, parishes and schools, Jesus too felt rejection throughout His life, even before He was born, when there was not place at the inn. It is a natural human behaviour to feel the need to surround ourselves with people who are similar to ourselves. We want to fit in, we want to feel validated and sometimes there are opportunities to preserve things by working with people similar to ourselves. But as Catholics, like the early Christians, we are called to sometimes put away our own insecurities and need to fit it, to instead look outwards. I wonder, way back when God chose the Israelites, did he consider that the land of Christ’s birth would be the place that united the known world of that time? Israel, a land that links Africa, Asia and Europe. Quietly, Christ was born at a place that brought together the continents, and then 33 years later, again, he reached out his hands to the world.

So the three things I just reflected on were that if we wish to work together it might be helpful to remember that:

  1. Each and every culture is a gift from God that is needed for working to build up His kingdom.
  2. Own your privilege -it is a gift to be used to help others step forward, it can be used to help others participate and share their talents.
  3. Look outwards, that’s a part of the mission and calling of each of us who make up the Body of Christ and His Church.

Every culture is a gift, own your privilege, look outwards.

Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales Racial Justice Sunday Resources


God of our past, present and future, 
you created each one of us in your image and likeness,
help us to recognise you in each person.

As we pray for end to suffering caused by racism
lead us this day to walk with one another,
pray with one another and work together,
so that we create a future based on justice and healing,
where all can fulfil the hope you have for all peoples. 

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Racial Justice Sunday, 5th February 2023

The theme for this year’s Racial Justice Sunday is:

‘All are included in the mission of Christ and his Church.
Let us walk together, pray together and work together.’

It reflects the role each of us must play in promoting the mission of Christ and His Church. This was inspired by conversations around last year’s Racial Justice Sunday and Pope Francis’ visit to Canada in July 2022 when he spoke about looking towards a future of ‘Justice, healing and reconciliation’.

There are new resources for 2023 on the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales website and we are also invited to return to the images produced last on ‘Made in the Image God’ for deeper reflection.

Gallery of Saints – Chosen by parishioners and especially commissioned for Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Parish, White City, in West London. Photo @ Fr Richard Nesbitt


God of our past, present and future, 
you created each one of us in your image and likeness,
help us to recognise you in each person.

As we pray for end to suffering caused by racism
lead us this day to walk with one another,
pray with one another and work together,
so that we create a future based on justice and healing,
where all can fulfil the hope you have for all peoples. 

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales – Racial Justice Sunday

Rooting Out Racism in the Parish – Our Lady of Fatima, White City

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2023 – Focus on Racial Justice

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – Materials Available to Download

Theme: ‘Do good, seek justice’ (Isaiah 1:17).

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from the 18th to the 25th January – the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul.

For this week we are guided by the churches of Minneapolis as we seek to explore how the work of Christian unity can contribute to the promotion of racial justice across all levels of society.

Through this resource, the ecumenical Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) writers’ group has chosen to focus our attention in the UK on the 30th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, which we mark in 2023.


You made us, God,
in your own image,
and then became one of us,
proud of those you have made.
Make us proud of being part of that worldwide family,
and eager to discover and celebrate your image
in every person, every culture, every nation
that we are privileged to encounter.

CTBI Prayer for Week of Christian Unity 2023

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Martin Luther King Jr Day – 16th January 2023

Pope Announces Ecumenical Prayer Vigil for Synod

Chine McDonald Speaks at CARJ AGM – Saturday 5th November 2022

Your Special Invitation

This Saturday, November 5th 2022, The Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) will have its AGM with the Business meeting at 11-12 noon.

Chine McDonald was born in Nigeria and moved to the UK when she was four years old. She read Theology at Cambridge University before training as a newspaper journalist. She was also head of ‘public engagement’ at Christian Aid, and is a regular contributor to BBC Religion and Ethics programmes, including Thought for the Day, the Daily Service and Prayer for the Day. Her first book was titled “Am I beautiful”. She sits on the boards of several charities including Greenbelt Festival, Christians in Media, and Christians Against Poverty. She is also the Director of Theos, the religion and society think tank. Her second book, “God is not a white man” was published last year.

At 1pm after Lunch there will be a talk given by the author of ”God is not a White Man,” Chine McDonald, on the topic “God, race and the imago Dei: black women in the Church”.

Venue: St Thomas More Church Hall, 9 Henry Road, London N4 2LH

There is an option for Participation by Zoom. Please email for information.

Other Details for the AGM
Extraordinary General Meeting 10.00-10.45am
AGM Business Meeting 11:00am – 12.00pm

Lunch, AGM Talk and Activities from 1pm

Further information and booking: It is helpful, for catering purposes, to know in advance who is coming. Please contact: Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ), 9 Henry Road, London N4 2LH (020 8802 8080),

Directions: St Thomas More Church is a short walk from Manor House Underground Station. Leave the Station via Exit 5; and walk along Seven Sisters Road toward Finsbury Park Station. Take the first turning on the left (Portland Rise) and then the second turning on the right (Henry Road). Anyone who is driving has to enter the complex of streets around Henry Rd by turning off Green Lanes into Gloucester Drive.

Maggie Beirne reflects on the Synod Synthesis: ‘Blindness’ to issue of racism

Maggie Beirne

Source: Independent Catholic News

The national Synthesis developed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) is a marvel of lucidity, and one which tackled a series of difficult, and potentially controversial, issues in a thoughtful and sensitive manner. It constitutes an incredible contribution to the global debate about how the People of God should journey together to live out our Gospel values.

There is so much in it to be welcomed that it seems petty to focus on a serious weakness, rather than proceed to embed this model of a listening church into our faith lives in our homes, our parishes, our places of work etc. Still, this moment should not be let pass, without some recognition of the blindness that the Synthesis seems to show with regard to the issue of racism.

There is a paragraph devoted in the ‘marginalised groups’ section to “People of Colour” (paragraph 71), which might be considered an improvement on some of the diocesan reports which did not allude to this issue at all. However, the paragraph is, in my view, very wrong headed. The national Synthesis notes that there are few references in the diocesan reports to ‘people of colour’ being excluded (the word racism still does not appear anywhere), but this silence is ‘explained away’ on the grounds that our congregations are often so ethnically diverse. The impression is given either that racism is not a problem within our church, since people of colour themselves did not raise it in the diocesan reports; or, alternatively, racism cannot be a problem experienced in our church because we have such ethnically diverse congregations. Neither interpretation is credible.

The commitment to addressing the need for more diversity in leadership roles is important but insufficient.

Talking with others, they confirmed my view that the final Synthesis seems “totally blind to the issue of racism” and some felt “let down” by its silence on the topic. I accept that the diocesan submissions might not have addressed the issue of racism explicitly but surely our duty as a church is to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying in the silences too? Were ‘people of colour’ engaged in the process in proportionate numbers (I was a parish synodal rep and noted in our written report that no non-white people engaged in our process)? If they did engage, were they comfortable in raising sensitive issues such as their treatment within broader society, and maybe also the treatment received from fellow parishioners? Maybe it is worse still if people of colour engaged in their parish or synodal processes but did not raise any concerns about exclusion because they did not feel that their experiences of racism had anything much to do with their faith journeys? There is plenty of documentation to show that racism is a problem that needs to be addressed from a faith perspective – just read the ground-breaking Rooting Out Racism report carried out by White City parish in Westminster diocese; or the submission to the national synodal process by the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ).

The Bishops will present this national Synthesis to the global church and (rightly) alluding to the fact that “the racial and cultural diversity of Catholics is seen as one of the great gifts of the Church in England and Wales”. However, I think that they must also be willing to see that racism is experienced by many in our society, and even in our pews. We, the People of God, need support in celebrating our diversity but also in recognising that many of the people we are journeying with experience racism. Absent this support, many faithful Catholics will remain blind to racism and, even perhaps quite unthinkingly, engage in it.


‘Rooting out Racism’ Report –

Catholic Association for Racial Justice Synod Submission –

National Synthesis Document – Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales –

Maggie Beirne, coordinator of the West London J&P network, is writing in a personal capacity.

Racial Justice: Where are we now? Update and Discussion with Westminster Justice & Peace – 25 May 2022, 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Join Westminster Justice and Peace for a conversation about tackling racism and promoting racial justice, equality and diversity.

This event will take place in person at Vaughan House, 46 Francis St, London SW1P 1QN, and is open to anyone in the Diocese of Westminster who would like to take part.

Colette Joyce (Westminster Justice & Peace Co-ordinator), Elaine Arundell (Westminster Education Service Primary RE Adviser), Fr Richard Nesbitt (Parish Priest, White City) and Elizabeth Uwalaka (Parishioner, White City) will facilitate this conversation updating participants on initiatives that have taken place in the Diocese in the two years since the murder of George Floyd in the US brought racial justice issues to greater worldwide prominence.

Join us for discussion on the question: what more needs to be done?

Book with Eventbrite:

To find out more about the racial justice work being facilitated for schools by the Diocese of Westminster Education Service please visit their website here: Diocese of Westminster Education Service

Racial Justice, Equality and Diversity Mission Statement

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

The above verse, taken from the Gospel of John, is central to Westminster Diocese’s mission to promote racial justice, equality and diversity.  The command to love our neighbour extends to all human beings irrespective of race, ethnicity, culture, or background.  As an expression of that love, we envision a vibrant community with full equality, that embraces diversity and allows for equality of opportunity for all. We aim to challenge bias, discrimination or stereotyping that can lead to racial injustice or inequality and will work to embed anti-racist practice into all areas of our work. We aim to address the cumulative effects of past and present inequities to eliminate disparities and enable all our members to flourish. We believe that this can be achieved through the education of the whole person throughout the whole curriculum with Christ at the centre. 

As servants of Christ, we assert the primacy of love, the uniqueness of the person, the importance of solidarity, the pursuit of academic excellence and our commitment to equality, social justice and the common good as the visible fruits of the faith. The Gospel is at the heart of the work of the Diocese and we serve one another in the knowledge that we only have one teacher, Jesus who prayed that we “may be one” (John 17:11).    

Racial Justice, Equality and Diversity Mission Statement, Diocese of Westminster Education Service

Homily by Archbishop John Wilson for Racial Justice Sunday

Bishop John Wilson, delivering Racial Justice Sunday homily, 13th February 2022 – Photo: Marcin Mazur

The Archbishop of Southwark, Most Rev John Wilson gave the following homily in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark during the Racial Justice Sunday Mass on 13 February 2022.

Dear brothers and sisters, I don’t know who is more excited about today – me or Father Victor. I hope we’re all a little bit excited about this great celebration of the Holy Mass, but also with a focus today on our unity in Christ, our oneness in Christ.

It is an absolute joy to be able to welcome you to our cathedral today. our cathedral. It belongs to all of us.

We are people of different nationalities, people of different heritage together and only together we form parts of that wonderful mosaic that God has created, which we call humanity, which in the church we call the body of Christ.

We are one in Christ and one with each other.

You are my brother and my sister. We are brothers and sisters of each other.

And so on this Sunday when we focus especially on racial justice, we give thanks first to Almighty God for the rich and beautiful diversity of peoples and cultures which make up our world which make up our communities which make up this Archdiocese. I am proud to be the Bishop of a diocese that is so diverse and so rich.

Today, we affirm and celebrate the gift of every human life. Every human life, from its first moment in conception to its natural end at death. When the Lord Jesus commanded us to love one another he made no exceptions.

And neither can we. Neither should we.

When the Lord Jesus speaks about God’s kingdom in the Gospel we heard today, he announces a radical inversion of values.

Those who are poor, hungry, sorrowful, those oppressed. Those who so often in our world, have no value and no voice. These are the ones who are great in the kingdom of God.

What an important lesson this is for us to learn and to keep learning for how we live, the weakest, the poorest, those the world thinks as nothing. These are the ones who are great in the kingdom.

Our archdiocese is marvellously diverse. People in our parishes and schools represent a rich variety of culture of ethnic and racial backgrounds, from every country across the world.

There is a place for everyone in our church. And if you don’t like that, there’s the door.

You might think I’m joking. I’m not – there is a place for everyone in our church.

The diversity that we are is a gift.

The Catechism teaches us every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental rights on the grounds of sex, race, colour, social conditions, language or religion must be eradicated as incompatible with God’s design, to put it straightforwardly racism is incompatible with our faith.

There is and they can not be any place for racism, no place. But our faith does more than this. Our faith calls it calls us to be prophetic in our world.

To speak out with the values of God’s Kingdom to challenge racism, to eliminate its causes to heal the wounds it brings. And we each of us my brothers and sisters have a place to play in this, by making sure we think of every other person as someone worthy of respect by holding the rights and the equality and the sanctity of every human life and it is with great joy that in our diocese, we established our commission for promoting racial and cultural inclusion with Father Victor as its Episcopal vicar and it’s already working. It’s already making a difference to our parishes and our schools to challenge racism in all its forms.

Dear friends, if we think that racism is a thing of the past, then suddenly we need to think again.

It’s a present reality in our communities.

I was shocked the year before last I met with a group of young women young students from a school in our diocese, and I was shocked to listen to their experience of racism.

Through comments through insults through slurs through discrimination, alive and present today.

Racism is not a thing of the past, and therefore we cannot be silent about it. We cannot be silent about its existence, and we cannot be silent about its causes.

We must unite in Christ with other people of goodwill. We must unite in Christ, to work for justice. To speak out for equality for every person no matter what the colour of their skin is, no matter what language they speak. No matter where they come from, no matter what they look like.

My friends, it is our mission to continue to make our parishes and schools places where the gifts and the skills and the experience and the heritage of all people of every background honoured and valued and cherished and celebrated.

We will work to make our parishes and communities places where everyone is welcome where everyone is affirmed where everyone is encouraged. Where everyone is respected for the person God has created them to be and the person God is calling them to be.

We have in our church some inspiring examples of people who have spoken out, spoken out against slavery and work to overcome the sufferings of those enslaved. I want to name just two today. There are many others we need to learn of them because they’re truly inspirational.

The first is perhaps more familiar to us.

Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese woman sold into slavery and eventually brought to Rome where she was cared for by a community of religious sisters.

And she developed her own Christian faith and joined a religious community. She was such an outstanding example of what it means to live the values of the kingdom that in the year 2000 She was made a saint – Saint Josephine Bakhita.

I think of someone perhaps very few of us maybe only one other in this church today will know the name of Sister Dorothy Stang.

An American Sister of Notre Dame, who was martyred 17 years ago yesterday, the 12th of February 2005.

Why was she martyred? Because she upheld the rights and the dignity of indigenous peoples in Brazil.

The voices of all those in our church who have defended and protected people of different racial and cultural backgrounds, those voices must be alive in us. They must be.

Dear friends,

Are we one in Christ? nGive me some nodding heads please.

Are we one in Christ? We are one in Christ who is risen. Christ who is risen, who has overcome death, who has conquered sin and therefore we are people of hope. Are we not – people of hope? And as people as hope, one in Christ, we are committed to working side by side to consign racism to history.

And so, we pledge today, to continue journeying together into the future.

One in Christ and one with each other.


Watch the homily:

Watch the Mass on Southwark Cathedral Youtube channel:

Westminster Justice & Peace representatives attending the Racial Justice Sunday Mass at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark