At Bath Abbey we have been closely watching events in the USA and UK over the past weeks, and we recognise the great gravity of the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.
We reject all forms of racism, injustice and inequality, and we are determined to work tirelessly with others in the city to tackle these issues. We believe with St. Paul that “all are one in Christ Jesus” and that there can be no justification for racial or any other social prejudice (Galatians 3 v28); and we regret that not enough progress towards genuine equality has been made in recent years.
We know that we need to look closely and as a matter of urgency at our own heritage and history, including memorials to those who were slave owners. While it may be impossible to erase the past of our city and society, we are intent upon learning lessons from it and helping others to do so also.
We deeply regret all past inhumanities, including the evils of the slave trade. We pledge that we will continue to listen to, understand, and challenge issues of injustice and inequality today, and work to create a future where everyone can play their full part in society.
Part of the Abbey’s key task is to pray. At this time we offer two prayers, for life together in our city :
A Prayer to End Racism
Good and Gracious God, who loves and delights in all people, we stand in awe before You, knowing that the spark of life within each person on earth is the spark of Your divine life.
Differences among cultures and races are multicoloured manifestations of Your Light.
May our hearts and minds be open to celebrate similarities and differences among our sisters and brothers.
We place our hopes for racial harmony in our committed action and in Your Presence in our Neighbour. May all peoples live in Peace.
A Prayer for Changed Hearts
Heavenly Father, we bring to you the moments when we have profoundly misunderstood each other, together with the times when we have completely failed to act in common humanity.
We pray that we may learn the lessons of terrible past failures in order to live in greater understanding and deepen our sense of common purpose in coming years. Teach us to thank you, the Father of all, for giving us our diversity and for all that we can learn from each other.
Help us to explore your creation, in all its wonder and delicacy, in an atmosphere of openness, thoughtfulness and with a sacred regard for our common life. We pray this for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who came to teach us peace.
Revd Canon Guy Bridgewater
Rector of Bath Abbey