THE BISHOP of Worcester, Dr John Inge and the Dean of Worcester, Peter Atkinson ‘took the knee’ outside Worcester Cathedral to pray for all those affected by repression, discrimination and injustice in a special video ahead of a #BlackLivesMatter protest in the city.
A large protest took place in the city on Saturday (June 13) which passed off without incident as city residents gathered to make their voices heard in the global protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd in police custody.
Bishop John said: “Since 25 May, when George Floyd lay dying with a policeman’s knee on his neck, his cry ‘I can’t breathe’ has gone round the world.
“That dying cry captures the despair of so many people for whom the world is a place of repression, discrimination, and injustice.
It captures the cry of so many black children, women, and men; so many black communities all over the world. George Floyd’s dying cry has provoked anger and protest, summed up in the words, ‘Black Lives Matter’. I ask everyone to join me in praying for a world in which Black Lives Matter.”
The Bishop and the Dean prayed for nine minutes outside the Cathedral, remembering the amount of time that George Floyd lay unable to breathe.
At the start of the prayers, Dean of Worcester, Peter Atkinson said: The Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that every person is our neighbour. Yet the Church has often oppressed, marginalised, or forgotten people.
The Church has been complicit in making slaves of black people, persecuting Jewish people, waging crusades against Muslim people, criminalising gay people, oppressing women, and abusing children.
God breathed into all people the breath of life, but so often ours has been the knees that have squeezed the life from others. Lord have mercy for all the time when our words or actions have made others say, ‘I cannot breathe’”
After remembering the long history of oppression and suffering for black people and giving thanks for the witness of black Christians and for all whose work is a celebration of black culture, the Bishop and Dean concluded with the Lord’s Prayer. They also asked God to grant peace to the Church, peace among nations, peace in our dwellings, and peace in all our hearts.
The Bishop posted the video below with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.
The full film can be watched on the Diocese of Worcester’s website at www.cofe-worcester.org.uk.