On November 26, 2020, The Canadian Council of Churches was pleased to host a Cross-Canada Conversation “Recognition, Justice, and Development: Peoples of African Descent and Canadian Churches.” The objective of this Cross-Canada Conversation was to raise awareness of the International Decade for People of African Descent and encourage action on the part of Christian communities and individuals in Canada to work to end anti-Black racism.
This unique, livestream dialogue sought to bear witness to the experience of people of African descent in a Canadian Christian context. The evening featured a keynote presentation by the esteemed Dr. Afua Cooper on the realities of current systemic anti-Black racism in the Canadian context and challenges to the Canadian church as well as a multifaceted panel discussion from diverse Christian voices across Canada, including Amanda Currie, Archbishop Mark MacDonald, Firmina Firmin, Adiat Junaid, and Michael Blair.
Nearly 250 people registered for this event, and many of them reported back on how it challenged them to address issues of racism in their lives and churches.
“I cannot speak for my church,” wrote one attendee, “but I will make an effort to make a difference within it by educating those ignorant and raising questions about racism and our role to dismantle it with the leadership of my church.”
Others stated that they intend to start anti-racism working groups in their churches, Bible-studies that engage the issue of racism and trying to undertake other initiatives in local and national churches. We are mindful that there is still much more work to be done, but thankful for the ways this event inspired new ideas and steps toward action.
Videos of key moments from this event are now available as a playlist on our Youtube channel.
We hope and pray that this event was the beginning of a bigger, longer, and more change-effecting conversation to address and dismantle anti-black racism in Christian contexts across Canada and beyond.