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Theologian, author and activist Dr. Krish Kandiah came to Blackburn Diocese last week to make challenging appearances at two important events, writes Heather Lee.

The first event was an evening gathering where he gave an address on the topic, ‘Let’s Talk About Race’.

More than 50 clergy, children and youth workers and lay people from our parishes attended The Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Blackburn to hear him speak.

Krish said: "It’s an act of love and devotion to God to make sure everyone is loved. Open-eyed Christians love God and love their neighbour.

"Fighting racism matters; it’s fundamental to who we are as Christians.

Warming to his topic he commented: "What is the right age to talk about race? There’s never a bad time. It's celebrating diversity and difference which is important.”

Speaking directly to youth leaders and youth pastors he shared about how, when he was growing up in school and in church, the role models shown from the front were all white and he never saw anyone who looked like him.

So he added: “When you’re looking at positive role models for young people, please look for people who aren’t always white!”

The evening was a great success. Helen Potts from Clitheroe St James Church commented: “It’s been really informative and thought provoking. Jesus tells us to love everyone and so it’s (important to) explore what that means in culture, race and society.”

And Natasha Green from All Saints Higher Walton added: “I think racial justice is important for the church to address as we’re called to love one another as we love ourselves and everyone is our neighbour. So it shouldn’t matter what their race is, we should love everyone.”

The following day Krish also spoke at the Equity, Diversity and Race Conference for Headteachers where 90 schools’ leaders from across the Diocese were gathered.

Captions for above pictures, top to bottom:

  • New Director of Education for the Diocese, Iain Parks, deep in discussion with Dr Krish Kandiah
  • Dr Krish Kandiah speaks with Sarah Earnshaw, Diocesan Children's Work Adviser at the evening meeting