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A new coalition called “Mosaic” was launched this week. The Movement of Supporting Anglicans for an Inclusive Church brings together campaigns on issues of race, ability, sexuality, gender, and gender identity. Mosaic has two co-chairs: Canon Tim Goode who is a newly elected member of the Archbishops’ Council, and the Revd Trevor Wyatt, Vicar of Christ Church Bexleyheath, in the diocese of Rochester.
The hope is that each diocese will have an identified Mosaic Convenor. I am delighted that I will be the convenor for St Albans Diocese. Four experiences from my own life, have made me see the importance of this role.
First, I remember, as an ordinand, spending time working in a church made up of people from hugely diverse backgrounds. There were people of different ethnic heritages and upbringings. There were elderly people, and also children, teenagers, and young adults. There was the university professor, and the single parent without a single qualification. But rather than causing difficulties and division, this very variety made for a far richer experience of Church as the beautifully manifold Body of Christ.
I now have the privilege of serving at St Albans Cathedral. One of the most wonderful things about this place, is that it welcomes and accepts people of all sexualities, genders, and gender identities. Among these people are many who have not yet found a warm welcome in their local churches. While that saddens me, I am delighted that there is nevertheless a sanctuary where they can find a place among God’s family.
My reading has also shaped my views of inclusion. It is quite shocking to read the experiences of UKME people – for example in Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race. It’s not enough to stop being racist; we need to become antiracist.
Finally, for the last year or so, I have headed up the diocesan Unconscious Bias Training. This is an excellent course which I know has been valued by participants. However, it’s only when you teach a course, that the principles really sink deeply into you. And that’s exactly what’s happened to me. I have become increasingly aware of my own unconscious biases.
So, in taking on the role of diocesan Mosaic Convenor, I do so not because I’ve got it all sorted, but because I recognise my own need to change. I need to become more inclusive. The Church needs to be more inclusive. For it’s only when we are, that we will become a place where God’s unconditional love isn’t just spoken about, it’s actually seen in practice.
More information can be found on the Mosaic website.
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