The Church of England should not repeat its lack of welcome to the Windrush technology when hundreds of Hong Kong Chinese language folks transfer to the UK in what might be the biggest deliberate migration for many years, say clergy of Chinese language heritage.
Lots of those that arrived within the UK from the Caribbean within the Fifties and 60s have been discouraged from attending and even turned away from Anglican church buildings. Final 12 months, Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, spoke of his disgrace on the C of E’s report of racism.
“We don’t need the church to repeat its errors by neglecting the wants and needs of individuals coming right here from Hong Kong,” mentioned Reverend Mark Nam, a Bristol-based curate of Chinese language heritage. “I’ve learn many harrowing testimonies [of the Windrush generation]. We wish the C of E to be prepared and welcoming to everybody this time. We have to be taught from historical past.”
The Dwelling Workplace earlier this 12 months acquired 34,300 functions for a brand new visa for folks in Hong Kong in search of residency within the UK in simply two months. Greater than one million folks with British nationwide abroad (BNO) standing may arrive within the UK within the subsequent 5 years, based on official estimates.
The UK authorities has mentioned folks with BNO standing and their quick households can apply for entry visas legitimate for as much as 5 years, and finally apply for citizenship. The programme was launched in response to Beijing imposing a harsh new nationwide safety legislation within the former British colony.
About 600 UK church buildings of various denominations have signed as much as be “Hong Kong Prepared”, committing to welcoming Christians from Hong Kong into their church communities. One in 10 of recent arrivals is estimated to be Christian.
Later this 12 months the C of E’s committee for minority ethnic Anglican issues (CMEAC) will host a convention on how parishes can welcome folks arriving from Hong Kong.
On Monday a assist group for C of E clergy of east Asian heritage is being launched with a eucharist service at Southwark Cathedral, presided over by Canon Andrew Zihni, who was born and grew up in Hong Kong. The Teahouse has been set as much as create connections between the 0.2% of paid clergy who’re of Chinese language or east Asian descent and “to empower them in any respect ranges of the church”, mentioned Nam.
Born in Newport, south Wales, Nam spent a lot of his childhood in Hong Kong. When his household returned to Wales when Nam was an adolescent, he skilled racist abuse at a college the place he was the one pupil of Chinese language heritage.
“When the Black Lives Matter motion kicked off final 12 months, I used to be asking, ‘The place are the east Asian voices within the church?’ We have been invisible. None of us knew of one another’s existence,” he mentioned.
He was additionally involved in regards to the sharp enhance in hate crime towards east Asian communities final 12 months after the Covid pandemic took maintain, fuelled by former US president Donald Trump’s repeated references to the “Chinese language plague”.
Rogers Govender, the dean of Manchester and chair of CMEAC, welcomed the launch of the Teahouse. “Discovering methods to assist networks and communities of Chinese language heritage and east Asian clergy and laity has been recognized as one in every of our key aims,” he mentioned.
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