Canadian Council of Churches

For Black History Month 2021, The Canadian Ecumenical Anti-Racism Network (CEARN) is highlighting its 2007 resource, “From Chains to Freedom: Journeying Towards Reconciliation.”

One of the contributors to the resource, Dr. Afua Cooper writes,  “Slavery was a racist system predicated upon Black inferiority and White supremacy. Institutional racist practice, the colour line, colonialism, duplicity of Western governments, economic disadvantages, racialization of Black peoples, and psychic distance between Black and Whites have all been identified as legacies of the slave trade and slavery.”

Published on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade by the British, this is a packet of materials on the slave trade and the practice of slavery in Canada for parishes, congregations and study groups including worship materials, biblical reflection, educational materials, children’s resources and much more.

This resource is no less relevant 14 years later as we recognize even more clearly the role of the Canadian churches in this historical legacy and how profoundly it is at the root of deeply damaged relationship and the ongoing harm to peoples of African descent. In the 2007 words of the CEARN Steering Committee, “It is urgent for us and our churches to acknowledge our complicity and participation on the perpetuation of racism, slavery and colonialism, or we are not credible.”

This publication can be downloaded for free:

CEARN is a part of the Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning, a reference group of The Canadian Council of Churches. The genesis of CEARN can be found in 2001, part of a Canadian response to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, that year. At that major conference, the Canadian church delegates resolved to act on some of the recommendations to the churches made by an ecumenical caucus. The first of these recommendations was “to educate church members, and to be educated, on crimes of racism and racial discrimination and the role of the churches”.