The Zebra Project

This paper arises from questions asked me by Israel Olofinjana in the course of research on black-and-white partnership

The History of the Zebra Project

The Zebra Project was set up in 1975 by Paul Charman and others. It became a part of the Bow mission, particularly under the leadership of Tony Holden, an influential Methodist urban mission minister[1]. It sought to develop relationships with the emerging black churches mainly from a Caribbean background. It networked, hosted meetings and produced a number of publications. Its pioneering work led to it having a national profile and it was important in building relationships between traditional churches and the emerging churches, feeding into organizations such as the Conference for Christian Partnership which provided a meeting place between The British Council of Churches and black churches and their organizations such as Afro West Indian United Council of churches (AWUCOC) and the Council of African Afro-Caribbean churches.

I was employed as a practical community worker in about 1987 and worked for them for five years addressing specific issues particularly in East London where the project was based. These included Sharing Church Buildings, The Sale of Church Buildings, Sanctuary and other immigration issues and relationships with Cherubim and Seraphim churches (with the former leader of the cherubim and Seraphim in London, Father Abidoye[2]). A publication Prophets and Prayer was produced and A Guide to Ethnic Christianity in London. Towards the end of my time I began to focus the work of the project particularly on the emerging African origin churches which were growing rapidly at this time. This interest in African churches and immigration issues was brought together in the creation of the African Churches Council for Immigration and Social Justice (ACCIS) which provided immigration advice and developed various other community projects particularly amongst Christ Apostolic Churches. I tried, less successfully, to work with young people and did some work on promoting racial justice amongst Baptist churches (some years later this bore fruit in the Reach in Reach out project)

People

Paul Charman initiated project in 1975. His story and reflections are told in the booklet. Reflections Black and White Christians in the City. Concerning the Zebra Project this publication states

The vision of the Zebra Project is of a church where people talk and share with each other in a frank and open way for mutual benefit. The Project attempts, in multiracial North and East London, to discover ways of promoting this understanding, fellowship and common action. Arising out of a realisation that black-and-white Christians knew very little about each other, especially among congregations which are predominantly black or prominently whited membership, the aims of being to encourage and facilitate face-to-face meetings. The project has achieved the delicate balance of relationships between a large number of Christian groups.

In 1977 he contributed to a Methodist publication Partnership in Black and White edited by Roswith Gerloff a German academic who did important pioneering work on black churches in Britain. This quote gives something of the flavor of the work

Several local Zebra Project groups have sprung up. The first, which began as a minister's group, now has a youth section. Honesty, and a desire to face really deep issues, characterized this multiracial and ecumenical group. It arose out of the concern about racial tensions in the local community and a realization of the need for black-and-white ministers to get to know each other in order to respond to the needs of the community. As the development of local contacts in this area, a group of young people from a number of different denominations and racial backgrounds are to spend a few days in a residential conference. The emphasis will be on the contribution which can and should be made to our common society by different community groups. Other groups consist mainly of lay Christians from individual congregations. They are multiracial but often find difficulty in maintaining West Indian participation, especially at leadership level.

Robinson Millwood a black Methodist minister from Stoke Newington wrote a booklet published by the Zebra Project in 1980. He put particular emphasis upon black leadership. In this booklet it says

Zebra Project is concerned with reconciliation and Christian witness in multi-racial Britain. It declares and seeks to prove that the black-led, white-led, and multi-racial churches have qualities and resources to share with each other.

The terms "black-led" "white-led" go beyond color that they might seem on the surface to endorse a form of apartheid within British church life. Rather, the terms reflect historical experiences and significant diverse these such a style of leadership and worship, and doctrinal emphases. The very existence of "black churches" and "Whites churches" in multi-racial Britain demand serious consideration in the light of Christian mission.... Understanding, action and reflection of the key concepts in the methods of the Project. The project initiates will support initiatives (local or regional) to promote Christian lifestyle, spirituality and social commitment of black-and-white people in the interest of the total community.

Another person worth mentioning from this time is Ira Brooks, a black minister with the New Testament Church of God whose book Another gentleman to the ministry is regarded by many as the best published source on the pioneering days of Caribbean origin churches in Britain. See also his Where do we go from here? – a history of the New Testament Church of God 1955-1980. I believe, he was a member of the Zebra Project advisory group. Phyllis Thompson a member of the New Testament Church of God worked for Zebra Project briefly around 1980

A witness to the significance of the Zebra Project at this time is John Root's 1979 Grove booklet -- Encountering West Indian Pentecostalism. Which states in the appendix that Zebra Project was 'although mainly limited to North-East London, the body with probably the most experience and information concerning interrelationships.'

Tony Holden, a Methodist minister, worked with the Zebra Project and wrote a book: Zebra Project: the first 10 years in 1985 and included a short chapter on it in his book People, Churches and Multiracial Projects. In this chapter he states the aims of the project as being:

1.      to bring black-and-white Christians together in dialogue and partnership in order to establish contact, raise awareness and encourage cooperation

2.      to do this in common witness, so that our whole society may be freed from racism and may become a just plural society

3.      to share with others in keeping the issues of racism and arisen before the attention of the institutional church to which we belong

It is perhaps significant that Tony Holden emphasizes the issue of racism in 1985 which was not mentioned by Paul Charman in 1975

In this same publication Io Smith, a leading female minister in the New Testament Assembly reflects on her first year of working for Zebra Project

The problem of togetherness among black-and-white Christians has been my central involvement. This took time to tackle, partly because of misunderstandings among groups from institutional backgrounds. However, after many struggles, things are beginning to take on a more positive tenor, especially over the past few months. Much credit is to be given to the team on the staff of Zebra, of which I am a part, in dealing with the things that have now become our priorities. As in everything, it was quite difficult to get things in the right perspective at the onset, however, we are now becoming more conversant with the important issues arising within our community, and finding where Zebra can play its rightful role in helping to promote understanding among Christians. Recently, I have been involved in the approach to 'all faiths awareness'.

More and more, the Black led churches are growing. We are finding ways of promoting better relations with our wide Christian brothers and sisters. Both groups recognize past difficulties but bridges are being built, not rapidly, but surely. As I relate and give information on things which are going on in the various areas and ask for cooperation. The work is great and we need perseverance.

It is interesting to note here the introduction of work with other faiths. Also the use of the term Black led churches which was also used by Paul Charman in 1975. The book itself, however, still uses the term Black churches. By the end of my time and Zebra Project the term Black Majority Churches, initiated, I believe, by Patrick Kalilombe from the Center for Black-And-White Christian Partnership in Birmingham became the normal term. This center although having a different, academic, basis from Zebra Project performed a roughly similar role in the Midlands[3]. Various projects performing a similar role of bringing together churches and black and white Christians have existed in different parts of the country over the years.

A URC minister, John Campbell, who worked in Upper Clapton was also seconded to work with Zebra Project. He developed a newsletter for churches in Hackney called Hackney JigSaw and develop some grassroots contacts which I made use of. He is now back in London, the minister of High Cross URC and worker with the Urban Churches Support Group[4]

David Moore (not to be confused with the black minister of the same name) was the superintendent of the Methodist Bow mission at the time and was an influential management committee member. Other influential members included Vic Watson, Paul Regan and Esme Beswick. Later the chair was a Catholic lay woman called Myrna Lubin and the project was supported by Gill Brewster (now Kanga) from the CANDL project who was a white member of a Black led church.

I was employed as a young 24-year-old to do more local work in East London, because, I think, people felt the work of the project had become too diffuse and they wanted it to do concrete work on the ground. I originally worked with Sam Mensa, a Ghanaian Christian from Newham then with Arlington Trotman and finally with Henry Kontor[5], a Ghanaian pastor

What ecumenical significance did this project achieved in terms of relationship between Black and White Churches?

It is difficult to make a definitive statement about this. Certainly the Zebra Project was an important early pioneer of partnership working between Black and White churches. Many significant people were involved with it, some of whom have already been mentioned but people such as Joel Edwards[6] and Esme Beswick[7] were involved with it over the years. It often seems to be a place which enabled people to transition from purely local work to work of national and international significance. It brought locally significant issues such as sharing Church buildings, immigration issues and the growth of African Christianity out onto a wider stage and forced them onto the agenda. Quite a lot of its work was about networking behind-the-scenes, I for instance was instrumental in enabling a publication on African Churches and Immigration Issues which was launched by Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants at the House of Commons, and although Zebra Project was not mentioned in the publication it couldn't have happened without them.

Partnership

It was essentially an education project. It facilitated people meeting together. It held conferences and seminars, such as a seminar on the Cherubim and Seraphim churches at the Simon of Cyrene Institute, it produced publications and supplied speakers and at times it did research such as a project in the early days on the West Indian family in London by Veronica Salmon, a church army officer. During my time we did some more  grassroots community work, as for instance in supporting Turkish Kurdish refugees who came in large numbers in 1991. It did, however, avoid getting involved in interfaith issues as this was not felt to be its speciality. Essentially, I would say, it brought grassroots issues to the attention of the church and helped to get started discussions about black-and-white partnership, racism and racial justice. Its roots were in a liberal Methodist social justice theology and sometimes this was an uneasy fit with the more conservative theology of black Pentecostal Christians, but common ground was found in addressing community issues as well as the shared Christian heritage. The emergence of ACEA[8] (African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance, originally West Indian Evangelical Alliance) facilitated contacts between Black majority churches and evangelical churches with whom they had more theologically in common. Evangelicals, however, were slower to take on board issues of racism and racial justice despite the pioneering work of groups such as Evangelical Christians for Racial Justice[9].

What contribution did the late Rev Dr Io Smith make to the Project?

See above. I was not working for Zebra Project during her time so find it difficult to say much. See her book An Ebony Cross -- being a black Christian in Britain today 1989 where she says

I know that many of our black Christians will not go out to white people because they have been on the receiving end for too long. Nevertheless black Christians must not take the path to determine today or tomorrow. Now is the time for healing and reconciliation. It will have to be a two-way effort. Black and white together. The whole issue of genuine Christian fellowship and love needs to be taken more seriously. Its bridge building time. When we crossed the bridge we must not cross as strangers, we must cross his friends. This is why I was involved with Zebra, a Christian-based race relation group, that takes on board breaking down barriers. Over the years Zebra has brought various groups together to talk out things and build relationships across races, cultures and peoples. I was on the committee long before I took a job with them. There is great satisfaction meeting people face-to-face and talking with them. If I receive a letter inviting me to events I see the letter but I don't see the organizers face. I don't know what attitude they displayed towards race. But when they shake my hand and smiled with me, and say 'come over' and I can look them in the eye, this means something. I begin to realize the type of person they are and what they are saying to me can be understood quite clearly.

What contribution did Rev Arlington Trotman make to the Project?

Arlington did not work for Zebra for long but brought an intellectual vigor which was important as is demonstrated in his chapter on Black, Black-Led or What? in the book Let's Praise Him Again

An important aspect of this self-examination is the process by which identity has been conferred on these church groups by researchers and social scientists. Labels such as 'black', 'Pentecostal', 'Black-led', and 'West Indian' are part of the vocabulary vary as she used describe local churches in England whose leadership and membership are predominantly West Indian origin.. Only within the past 20 years have these terms come into the relevant literature, especially from the mid-to-late 1970s and more recently by the Community Religious Project of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds University. In this project, Vanessa Howard defines the term 'black-led', for example, as those churches 'which have black leadership and where membership is predominantly black'. A number of research projects have since been published in the term 'black-led' is invariably favored. In their work, both Roswith Gerloff and Paul Charman consistently use it throughout. In all examples of its use, this phrase has to all intents and purposes been imposed on the Christian community by researchers who sought to understand and describe. It is important from a black perspective, therefore, to discover to what extent these terms -- 'Black-led' in particular -- have correctly described the Christian community.

What problems or difficulty did the project encounter in dealing with BMCs?

I became concerned about the power imbalance between the traditional churches and BMCs. This was particularly an issue in the 1980s when the large African origin Pentecostal churches had not developed. I was influenced by a comment from an African leader who said "What partnership can there be between the rich and poor?". There was also the issue that many black leaders had other jobs and weren't available to meet at the same time as white church leaders. Another recurring issue was the diversity of BMCs and the lack of bodies which could speak on that behalf. The denominations such as New Testament Church of God or Church of God of Prophecy were significant but guarded their own independence and encompassed only a small proportion of BMCs. Afro-West Indian United Council of Churches (AWUCOC) and its secretary Ashton Gibson tried to provide an umbrella with limited success. African Caribbean Evangelical Alliance (ACEA) in later days became the main umbrella body and perhaps was the most successful attempt at doing this. Its key inspiration was Philip Mohabir a remarkable Guyanese evangelist of Asian background who was frustrated at the denominationalism within the BMCs. His book Building Bridges is another key text.

In working with BMCs I came to believe that we had to focus on the issues which were of particular importance to BMCs. Immigration issues provided the most fruitful issue in this regard, we also addressed the issue of buildings but it was difficult to know quite what to do about this intractable issue. It goes back to the issue of power.

The fundamental issue was about building relationships, and work tended to succeed when there were good relationships. I found this particularly important in my subsequent work with the CANDL project, this Barnardos project was set up to encourage churches to develop professional values and 'good practice' in their work with children and young people. That was okay but we often found that these professional values were not actually good practice in the context of BMCs and grassroots groups because they were rooted in a particular ideological attitude. Partnership can only happen when we can free ourselves from Eurocentric practices and attitudes.

Theology was often important. BMCs with heterodoxy theologies tended to be less interested in partnership -- this was particularly the case with 'oneness' churches. There was also a clear divide between BMCs, for instance between Evangelical Pentecostals and Aladura churches. BMCs would also call for White historic churches 'nominal churches' which was, perhaps, a comment on what they saw as their liberal theology or failure to express the gifts of the Spirit.

What was the attitude of White Historic Churches to BMCs?

Most of the White historic churches were interested in relationships with BMCs and there was generally a desire to promote partnership and not act in a racist way. The active promotion of racial justice, however, was more difficult for people to embrace! Sharing buildings, which was often the most intimate way in which people related, were often difficult and tended to promote conflict rather than understanding. This was even more so the case when buildings were leased on long contracts.

The White historic churches could also be suspicious of the theology of BMCs particularly of prosperity theology or what was seen as the syncretism of Aladura churches. Some leaders, however, would turn a blind eye to these differences and it was extremely rare for these differences to be openly debated -- the exception, occasionally, was prosperity theology which is seen as a dangerous American innovation by most white church leaders. One of the most interesting pieces of work I did was with Aladura churches where it became clear to me that there was a range of opinions within, for instance, the Cherubim and Seraphim. Those who are interested in partnership were also those most interested in developing an orthodox theology. On the other hand a non-orthodox theology was often seen as a way of promoting authentic African identity and tended to go with a more separatist agenda -- I particularly experienced this in my contacts with the Spiritual Baptists, a Trinidadian movement who linked up with Aladura churches from Africa.

Conclusion

This is what I wrote in a report towards the end of my time with Zebra

Pioneering for justice

The Zebra Project is a pioneering organization. It seeks to be a relevant part of the Christian community. It's calling is to address key issues of interracial relations, particularly those which have not been adequately tackled. Its end is to promote racial justice as the basis for a real and lasting partnership between those of different races. It understands this to be central to the Christian gospel.

A Forum and a Network

The project's basic way of working is networking. That is, to have a wide range of contacts within the community which it can use to listen, reflect, gather together and initiate joint action. In its internal workings the project must endeavor to be a forum. This forum should direct the working broad terms. It should be a place where people feel comfortable, confident and able to teach and learn.

A global perspective

The project needs to maintain a global perspective. In particular it should understand London's crucial role as a global city. There are particular opportunities and needs in London given its history and multiracial nature. The lessons the whole Church can learn in London could be crucial to its development in the 21st century.

Zebra Project continued for a couple of years after I left employing an African woman called Bunwi Idowu. My feeling was that as groups such as ACEA were developing and BMCs were becoming more established in Britain the need for intermediary organizations such as Zebra Project was lessening and the more significant need was for organizations which brought BMCs together and gave them a voice. This was in the early 1990s and perhaps now, with the demise of ACEA we are moving into a new phase.

Some other significant publications

(not mentioned elsewhere)

Endless Pressure. Ken Pryce. Penguin 1979. Ethnographic study Bristol West Indian community including a pentecostal church (chapter 18)

Black Christians Speaking. Supplement to the Autumn issue of Community 31 1981 Published by the National Center for Christian Communities and Networks articles by Phyllis Thompson, Robinson Millwood, Veronica Salmon and Io Smith of the Zebra Project

Christian Action Journal 1982. Edition on the Center for Black and White Christian Partnership

Christian ethnics: church growth in multicultural Britain. Greg Smith 1983. British Church Growth Association

Catching Both Sides of the Wind -- conversations with five black pastors. Anita Jackson British Council of churches 1985 including Ira Brooks and Robinson Millwood.

A report on Afro-Caribbean Christianity in Britain. Vanessa Howard 1987 (The University of Leeds Department of theology and religious studies community religions project)



[1] http://www.tonyholden.org/

[2] http://csmovementworldwide.org/babaabidoye.htm

My father was Odetundun Abegunde who was Oba Olomu of Omu Aran, in Kwara state, which was Ilorin province when I was born. My mother was Tinuade Tinuola daughter of Niniola, a princess of Oponda.

I started schooling in May 1934. About on 14th February 1938 my father died. About 1938 Senior Apostle Prophet Oyinloye Rore introduced me to the Cherubim and Seraphim Church. In 1940, I was one of the students taken from N.A. school, (primary school) to secondary school in Ilorin, “called Middle School”. We were moved to Bida Middle school. I joined the Nigeria Railways1944. I worked with the Railways 1944 to 1958, during when I rose to the position of second class station master. When the Nigeria Railways became corporation I was one of the people that refused to work for the Corporation and were retired.

I worked with the Ministry of Agriculture Kaduna 1958 to 1960 December. At Kaduna I attended the Holy Order Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church. I was working in the Secretariat as Tithe collector. At Kaduna I was able to develop spiritually. I was a member of Ifeloju band. In 1960, I decided to travel to London to do Photography. I left Kaduna and sailed out of Nigeria on 5th January, 1961. I came to England with my payer gown. I fasted three times before we arrived Liverpool. I observed lent period throughout the years I was in England even before we started church in London.

In 1965, some of us started the Holy order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement here in London. I lost job to be able to worship my God, in the way the Cherubim and Seraphim Church worships. I worked for the British Railways 1961 to 1965. Though I came without money, my wife and I bought our house 18 Arlingford Road, London SW2 2SU, August 1963.

Just as other converts memorized the catechism, which we had to repeat before baptism in 1936. I was given the grace of seeing, in my dream, Jesus Christ, Peter, and John in trance in 1958.

Starting a church in 1965, my training for the post of Baba Aladura, by God became more pronounced when I started representing the Cherubim and Seraphim in World Council of Churches in 1976. I was able to learn from other churches when I started attending meeting with CBI. My ordination in 1977, as Special Apostle put me firmly in a position of chance to become a Baba Aladura.

In 1970, the Secretary MSA Pro. Peter Korode and myself as the spiritual leader registered the Church in UK.

In 2005, by the grace of God, I was unanimously appointed the Spiritual Father of this our great Church during the Ibadan Conference. My official installation took place in May, 2006 during Mount Horeb celebration.

[3] http://birminghamblackhistory.com/religion/the-centre-for-black-and-white-christian-partnership.html. Linked to the Queens foundation it has been associated with significant individuals such as John Wilkinson, Roswith Gerloff, Robert Beckford, Joe Aldred and Antony Reddie. I was mainly associated with it through a Nigerian student called Chris Oshun who was doing postgraduate research on Aladura churches in Britain.

[4] http://www.urbanchurches.org.uk

[5] In 1990-1991, he served as the development worker for Zebra Project - a black and white partnership for racial justice based in East London. He moved on to initiate a ground-level community development training programme, which he has taken forward into post-graduate training partnership with one of university in the UK and another university in Ghana. He is trusting God to develop an infrastructure with these universities' partnership to encourage a series of significant North-South Interactions that prepare other development catalysts to build and share medium-level international twinning activities. In 2003, he took time to observe urban ministry patters in two countries in Asia and two countries in Africa, besides his on-going outreach work in UK and mainland Europe.

[6] A minister of the New Testament Church of God. Joel Edwards is the international director of Micah Challenge, a global campaign to mobilise Christians against poverty, and to influence leaders of rich and poor nations to fulfil their promise to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. He was previously director general of the Evangelical Alliance and is currently an adviser to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation

[7] Revd Esme Beswick was born in Jamaica, a former nurse with over 35 years pastoral experience. She has also worked as a hospital chaplain. Esme has a clear purpose and destiny for the 21st century church. Her ministry has taken her to Russia, Germany, Israel, Finland, France, Italy, Jamaica, Nigeria, St.Vincent, and the USA. And soon to India. Rev Esme Beswick has a diploma in Theology from the central Bible Institute and studied Liberation Theology at London University Extra Mutual Studies. She is also a former Nurse and has worked at the Whipps Cross University. Rev Esme Beswick is the founding president of the joint council for Anglo Caribbean Churches, and has served on several ecumenical bodies including Borough Dean of Lambeth, Chair of Brixton Council of Churches, the Churches Council for Britain & Ireland, the inner Cities Religious Council, a government public body, which looks into issues affecting religious, racial and social discrimination, churches Commission for migrant in Europe. She is a member of the Churches Representative meeting. Revd Esme Beswick has founded several Community Projects such has the Cares Support Projects, the over 50's Day Centre, Immigration Support Projects and Drug & Alcohol project that has been established since 1992 and was lunched by the late Princess of Wales. Revd Esme Beswick is listed in the Debrett "The people of Today" book and has been on CD-ROM since 1995. She was awarded the most Excellent order of the British Empire (MBE) in June 2001 for the community Relations in London. Revd Esme Beswick has become the first black woman to hold the position as a president of the Churches Together in England. On the 1st- 2nd June 2002 the Revd Esme Beswick was invited to Windsor Castle, to participate in the Queen's Golden Jubilee Thanksgiving service at St George's Chapel. She was privileged to have escorted the Queen into the Vicar's hall. The four presidents of the Churches Together in England included the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O' Connor, the Revd David Coffey of the free Churches Federal Council and the Revd Esme Beswick, representing the small Churches. A historic covenant committing English Churches Leaders to work together was signed in the presence of the Queen by the four Presidents. Currently, she serves as a patron for race Equality Employment Programme ( REEP), patron for the Churches Council on ageing, the Church and Community; Home Affairs Forum; Chaired by Baroness Amos, Leader of the House of Lords, and founding president of the Esme Beswick Education Foundation Trust, which is a scholarship scheme primarily for gifted young black adult, wishing to further their education at university.

[8] The African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance (ACEA) has announced that it is suspending operations after 25 years due to a shortage of funds which has been compounded by the recession. The move comes despite the significant growth of successful black churches, many of an evangelical and Pentecostal character, in many urban areas of Britain during the past 15 years. However, some insiders say that a significant number of these congregations, notably the most wealthy, prefer to operate in independent ways and are more attuned to competition than cooperation. ACEA says that membership donations have fallen in recent months, "with the current financial crisis causing churches and organisations to prioritise their giving to local ministries." Other sources of funding have also diminished due to the recession. The Alliance announced last week that, "It is with deep regret that ACEA trustees have to terminate the contract of the charity’s staff and suspend further operations at this time." African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance chair of trustees, the Rev Pedro Okoro said: “ACEA has dedicated the past 25 years to providing a unique voice for African and Caribbean churches in the UK, so this has been a very painful decision. “Operations are now suspended pending a planned review and consultation with our constituency as to how we can best continue to respond to the Black Church’s need for representation. “The patrons and trustees are committed to ensuring that the views of members of the Black Majority Churches continue to be heard and the trustees will continue to meet to explore an appropriate way forward for the organisation.” He added that membership of ACEA also includes membership to the Evangelical Alliance UK, which still stands. ACEA was established in 1984 as a national umbrella organisation for Black Majority Churches and organisations in the UK, providing a voice and identity for its constituents, focusing on their specific needs, tackling inequalities and representing them to government, statutory agencies and the church nationally and internationally. ACEA has also been a partner in the publication of the Black Majority Churches directory, along with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. This is now available online. It has been a registered umbrella organisation with Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). The many initiatives ACEA launched include the Watato Project for mentoring Black youth, the Theological Study Group articulating the theological needs and concerns of black Christians in the UK, the Safe and Sound child protection conference and, with the Centre for Youth Ministry, an accredited youth work ministry course specifically for people working in or with black communities. ACEA has engaged with the government and worked in partnership with other agencies on numerous occasions, one of the most recent being the Olympic initiative 'More Than Gold'. ACEA hosted the 'Faith in the Future' Conference in 2000 and went on to contribute to a number of collaborative governance initiatives including the Aiming for Excellence conference in 2007, and the development of new model trust deeds for independent churches. It has provided a public voice for the Black Majority Churches on many issues, notably the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, the murder of Damilola Taylor, and the Victoria Climbie inquiry. In 2007, ACEA was involved in several events marking the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade [legislation], including representing black Christians at the national service in Westminster Abbey. ACEA played a key role in the walk for peace following the shootings in Peckham and Brixton in the same year and has been a supporter of Global Day of Prayer (London) from the outset.

[9] There is not much information available on ECRJ but see

Better will Come. A Pastoral Response to Institutional Racism in British Churches. (Grove Pastoral No.48)

by HOBBS, Maurice. Bramcote, England: Grove Books, 1991.. "The aim of this booklet - the work of several members of ECRJ (Evangelical Christians for Racial Justice) is two-fold: to illuminate the racism which characterizes British society, including its churches, and to suggest some ways of combatting it"