Here you will find a link to a video and a poem which was produced by Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, in response to the George Floyd killing. One of our ordinands, who comes from Africa, wrote a very powerful poem speaking from his own experience. I wrote (and gave as an online lecture) a short lecture to help trace some of the roots of how the Church has unwittingly added to the problem in the past centuries.

I Cannot Breathe
A poem by Wycliffe Hall ordinand Oyin Oladipo

Undermining Racism
A talk by Prof. Wright

I wasn’t so much trying to get at the ugly roots of racism itself. I was concerned to point out that while you might have thought the churches would have seen the dangers at once, and would have been modeling the ‘mutual welcome’ which is central to the gospel, somehow other issues got in the way. Some of the problems we find today actually are the result of ‘good things’ that occurred within the history of the Church. This is tragic and we need to recognise it.

Our situation here in Great Britain is in some ways different to what is occurring in the United States -- just as similar problems in other parts of the world have their own dynamic. But we ought to be reflecting on the background of some of the ethnic divisions that exist in the Western Church, on how they came about and how they have been perpetuated.

The piece I wrote is not (of course) meant to be comprehensive. I would like to refer you to the forthcoming book by my former student, Revd. Prof. Esau McCaulley from Wheaton College, Illinois, called Reading While Black. He has had a lifetime of facing the issues and a wise and powerful Christian view on what we should now be doing.

I hope these resources will inform you and your church’s own journey as you seek to proclaim good news today.


Tom Wright
Wycliffe Hall, Oxford