Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) are urging churches around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to observe Racial Justice Sunday on Sunday 9 September focussing on the theme - One race: the human race. The annual event is a chance for churches to join together in prayer and thinking about racial justice issues, planning action that can change things for the better and fundraising for national and local initiatives. Posters, prayer leaflets, worship and study material to enable churches focus on racial justice issues especially the plight of asylum seekers and the deaths of black people in custody have been prepared by Churches' Commission for Racial Justice (CCRJ) with the help of the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) and colleagues in the Evangelical Alliance. "The poster for Racial Justice Sunday depicts a very powerful symbol: it is a cross made of thumb prints all in one colour, against the background of one large thumb print. Nobody can tell the colour of the fingers or thumbs that made the prints and that emphasises we are all one humanity," explained the Rt Revd Roger Sainsbury (Anglican Bishop of Barking), Moderator of CCRJ. "In observing Racial Justice Sunday we speak up for the voiceless and we protect the persecuted, tortured, or those demonised simply because they look different," said CRRJ Secretary, the Revd Arlington Trotman. "Together we help stop the rising number of racially motivated and asylum deaths; we cry out for people to 'put away the sword'. And we join forces to declare that Roma, Gypsies and Travellers share the humanity we all share," he said. Speaking before he left London with the bishop for Durban, South Africa where they are attending the United Nations Non Governmental Forum and World Conference Against Racism, Mr Trotman said: "Sadly, as the cases of Stephen Lawrence and Michael Menson showed, racist hate has fuelled the fires that destroy life in Britain and Ireland." While they are in South Africa, Bishop Roger and Mr Trotman hope to learn from the churches' experience in South Africa in addressing racism in Britain and Ireland. Director of CARJ, Stephen Corriette said: "It is imperative that as people of God, we stand together to observe Racial Justice Sunday. Actions speak louder than words - our action today must be to commit ourselves to ensuring our society is a place free from fear, racial discrimination and division. "Racial Justice Sunday is a time for each of us to reflect on what being a follower of Christ means to us." UK Director of Evangelical Alliance, the Revd John Smith said: "The Evangelical Alliance is pleased to commend Racial Justice Sunday, celebrating both the image of God as expressed in each human being and the rich ethnic diversity of the human family. As Christians, we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to experience and model just and harmonious community in the family of God." The planning pack which contains posters, prayer leaflets, worship and study materials is available from CCRJ on 020 7523 2128 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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