Open the doors
John Danso looks back at the obstacles people from ethnic minorities have faced in the Church
Let me take this opportunity to wish the United Reformed Church a happy 50th anniversary celebration. It is nice to celebrate a journey of fifty years. But my question is: With whom do we celebrate? Is it the whole denomination or some people in the denomination?
The URC started with churches with few ethnic minority people. Those who started the exciting journey opened their arms to welcome everyone who wanted to join them. Ethnic minority people became part of the community, but not part of the system. Ten years after the formation of the URC there were no ethnic minority representatives on the district councils. There were significant numbers of ethnic minority members, but General Assembly Moderators were all white. The doors were shut for ethnic minority people. They were there to carry out instructions in their churches.
Ethnic minority people found themselves isolated. The congregations did not understand them, neither did their white ministers. When an ethnic minority person managed to find herself behind the bar to serve tea after service, the white people would go home without tea on that day with excuses. When a white person was serving tea all the people would be served except ethnic minority people. When I first candidated for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament I was interviewed by 15 white people. My application was turned down. I candidated again after some years and I was interviewed by 12 white people…
John Danso is a retired URC minister
This is an extract from an article published in the October 2022 edition of Reform