Exploring Black History and Black Theology
Black history on and off campus
October was Black History Month; something we were keen for everyone at Trinity to engage with.
Students and faculty took the opportunity to share reading and resources around Black history, racism and the Church, to reflect on their experiences, and take part in a number of events.
Students arranged a trip together to visit the All God’s Children exhibition at Bristol Cathedral. This exhibition was set up to acknowledge, lament and explore the Cathedral’s past links with Bristol’s slavery-based economy. It featured portraits and comments from Bristol Christians, some of whom are living with the legacy of slavery and the reality of racism.
Cathedral clergy kindly joined us to discuss the work they are doing and reflect on our role as future church ministers and leaders in addressing the legacy of slavery and racism in the Church.
At college, we were joined by Jennie Taylor, the Racial Justice Officer at Liverpool Diocese, and Adeyinka Olushonde from Liverpool Cathedral’s Slavery Truth Project who were in Bristol for a colloquium at the cathedral on the topic. In a challenging discussion, they asked us to reflect on how Trinity can equip its students to address the church’s history of racism.
Jamie Davies and Sean Doherty also led a session on the history of Stoke House, now used as Trinity’s iconic main building, which, like many mansions in the area, was originally built for a Merchant Venturer and we believe was funded in part by profits from the slave trade. We are confronted with this history every day as we walk about the building, use the library, and study here. We discussed what we do with that; how do we respond to it as a Christian community?
Near the end of the month, students and faculty met at The Badger’s Pouch to discuss what we had learned and how we might now think and do things differently in our lives and ministries.
Unpacking Black Theology
In Spring 2023 we are looking forward to launching a new Black Theology module that in the future all of our students on undergraduate programmes will take. They will study the development of Black Theology in various contexts, including the USA, UK, Africa and the Caribbean. From there, they will discover how to engage with the Bible, Christian doctrine, spirituality and discipleship through the lens of Black Theology.
We hope this new module will help our students to think critically and consider other perspectives on theology outside of the European tradition that has traditionally been dominant in the Church of England. Watch this space for more news next term.