UK: Conference on Dalit Christians

January 21, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Caste DiscriminationTwo Day Meet (Non-Residential)
Date : 18-19 FEB, 2014
Venue : Amigo Hall
St. George’s Cathedral
Lambeth Road, London, SE1
Mobile : 07919247332
Email: fr.gerardmitchellsj@vodintl.org.uk

On Sunday January 2013, Churches Together in Southall gathered in St. Anselm’s Catholic Church for a Service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Service had been prepared for use throughout the world. We came together in worship and in solidarity with our Dalit brothers and sisters, mindful of the challenging words of Pope John Paul II to the Catholic Bishops of India.

Fortuitously the theme of this Week of Prayer coincided with efforts in the United Kingdom, to combat caste discrimination on the rise in the  British-Asian community. Last Spring, UK’s anti-discrimination Equality Act 2010, with caste as “an aspect of race”, was amended, making it illegal.We continued to meet in Southall to consider ways in which we might support Dalits, both Christian and non-Christian, here and in S. Asia.

“Christian responsibility to Dalits & Caste Discrimination”

We brought our concerns to Bishop Patrick Lynch, Chair of the Office for Migration Policy, Member, CBCEW Department of International Affairs and Episcopal President of the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ). The Conference is its fruit and an opportunity to bring others in, for caste discrimination poisons the lives of millions of our brothers and sisters, strips them of status and keeps them in abject poverty.

It is an opportunity and invitation to hear the voices of the Dalit struggle and to reflect upon how the words of Pope John Paul 11 might impact upon the Church in its work of evangelisation and the development of peoples. It will be an occasion to hear from those who speak powerfully and authoritatively, from national and international perspectives.   We invite you and your organisations to participate.

Main Speakers:

  • Lord Bishop Richard Harries (House of Lords)
  • Lord David – Alton (House of Lords)
  • Bishop Patrick Lynch, (Catholic Bishops Conference of England & Wales-CBCEW)
  • Bishop Pete Broadbent (Bishop of Willesden & Deputy Bishop, London)
  • Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak (Member Dalit Commission, CBCI- India)

Pope John Paul II on Caste Christians

Pope John Paul II“At all times, you must continue to make certain that special attention is given to those belonging to the lowest castes, specially the Dalits. They should never be segregated from other members of society. Any semblance of a caste-based prejudice in relations between Christians is a countersign to authentic human solidarity, a threat to genuine spirituality and a serious hindrance to the Church’s mission of evangelization.”

– Pope John Paul II, November 17th 2003.

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