Martha Mutikani and Godfrey Kesari will be commissioned during a special service in Chichester Cathedral to mark Black History month on Saturday 8thOctober.
Martha is currently Associate Vicar of Isfield, Uckfield and Little Horsted and Assistant Dean of Women’s ministry in the Diocese. Godfrey is Vicar of Southwater and Interfaith Adviser for the Diocese.
Bishop Will said:” I am thrilled to announce that the Rev Martha Mutikani is to be appointed as the Diocese of Chichester’s first Racial Justice Officer assisted by the Rev Godfrey Kesari. Martha and Godfrey will lead a new committee that will seek to raise the often-hidden issues of racism through education and encouragement. They will seek to equip the whole household of faith so that we can engage with the important issues of racial justice.
“Martha and Godfrey will be formally appointed with the first of our junior ambassadors, Demi Alao and Billy Wheals (currently studying at Steyning Grammar) by the Bishop of Chichester during the Sung Eucharist in celebration of Black History month at the Cathedral 8thOctober at 11am. This service is set to be a great celebration of Black history with contributions from the students of Steyning Grammar and music from the Zinafe choir.
“We know that Racism has no place in the Gospel of love, yet we still see the dreadful effect of our failure to treat everyone as equally made in God’s image. We rejoice that they have agreed to take on these voluntary roles and pray that they will help us to ever more effectively be the body of Christ."
Martha was delighted to accept the call to stand together with the diocese to drive the Lament to Action objectives. She said: “I have accepted because l am passionate about racial justice.
She said: I feel honoured and am delighted to accept the call to work with my colleague Rev Godfrey Kesari, the Junior Racial Justice Ambassadors Demi and Billy together with the Racial Justice Committee to drive the Lament to Action objectives. I have accepted because l am passionate about racial justice, it’s a lived experience that l pray no one else should continue to endure or experience.
"Healing and enabling a culture that seeks to say we are our brother’s keepers is at the heart of racial justice. I call on every individual in the diocese to join us as the Racial Justice Team and the Diocesan leadership to support the diocese in being active and intentional in the drive for Racial Justice.
"I would like to envision us driving the diocese by stating that “being anti-racist is not the same as simply not being racist. It is not enough as a Diocese not to be racist; instead we must actively counter, disrupt and oppose racial injustice. This isn’t an easy task, it takes introspection, as well as continued intentional action and is not a static description of ourselves.”
Godfrey said, “Many people of God have been working for decades on the crucial matter of Racial Justice. Alongside Rev Martha Mutikani, I’m pleased to join in that important ministry on behalf of the diocese. I do believe that this is a call from God, and I am grateful to the Senior Leadership for offering me the opportunity. Racial Justice is close to my heart. I shall bring my passion as well as my experiences and skills to this key role. I will appreciate your prayers as I commit to working for Racial Justice in addition to Parish Ministry.”
BLACK HISTORY MONTH AT CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL
‘What it means to belong' is a key event taking place at Chichester Cathedral on 8th October at 11am - the designated month to acknowledge and celebrate Black History.
As well as the commissioning of Racial Justice Officers, you will hear inspiring stories of faith and resilience from guest speaker’s Les Isaac OBE and Bola Alysia Ayonrinde, the lead for racial Justice in the Church of England. Also, Rosemarie Davidson-Gotobed, the National Church of England Minority Ethnic Vocations Officer, and contributions from pupils at Steyning Grammar School and Holy Trinity School in Crawley.
All welcome - Please join us after the service for refreshments.
Liturgical Resources for Black History Month
Resources from the Church of England are designed for use during Black History Month including Services of the Word, a Eucharistic Service, and Prayers of Lament and Commission.
Les Isaac Background
Les Isaac is the founder and president of Ascension Trust and he pioneered the Street Pastors initiative in 2003.
Born in Antigua, Les was a Rastafarian involved in London's gang scene before he became a Christian. He went on to work as a church leader for over twenty years, always seeking to engage with the same hard-to-reach communities that he came from.
In recognition of the contribution that Les has made to society, he was awarded an OBE by her Majesty the Queen and has recently been appointed as an honorary Ecumenical Canon at Southwark Cathedral. He is the author of Faith on the Streets (Hodder Faith).