Action Zones 

The Rockin' Rev August 2021


A problem we can’t ignore


The fifty-five years wait for an England football team to win a major tournament trophy continues after losing to Italy following a penalty shootout in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley
The heroic England squad, who played in their first major tournament final since the 1966 World Cup, had an average age of just 25 - the second youngest in the tournament behind Turkey
Many people, myself included, feel that Gareth Southgate’s team gave football fans in particular, and the nation generally, something to be proud of. On and off the pitch the players have been good role models
However, the day after the match there were harsh words for the England fans who, having trashed Leicester Square earlier in the day, booed the Italian national anthem against the wishes of the England manager, who had begged them not to
But the strongest condemnation was reserved for those who directed racial abuse at England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka – who all missed penalties in England’s 3-2 defeat
England manager, Gareth Southgate described the abuse as “unforgivable” adding, “It’s just not what we stand for. We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue. We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together”
The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, and Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, joined the condemnation. Church leaders also spoke out
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, writing on Twitter said, "This England team is an example, a gift, and a reflection of what's best about this country”
Since last July and throughout the 2020-21 Premier League season, football players have “taken the knee” in support of equality, inclusivity, and racial injustice – a gesture that the England team decided to continue at Euro 2020 because they believe that they have a sense of duty to interact with the public on such matters
Throughout history, many racist actions and institutions, such as slavery and apartheid, have been justified using stories from the Bible. Over time, most Christian churches have come to see these injustices for what they are and have spoken out against them, recognizing them as perversions of the Christian message
Not before time, progress is being made towards a church which reflects proper Christian teaching
Racism is a complex and ongoing problem that none of us should ignore or run away from

Rev Brian Hall

Vicar, St Andrew’s Church


also published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine


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