Brown vows to work with black Christian leaders on community issues

The Prime Minister has pledged support for a group of Christian leaders and urged them to continue helping build stronger communities, in a meeting at Downing Street on Thursday.

|PIC1|Gordon Brown has agreed to work with the Black Christian Leaders Forum (BCLF) during a meeting in Downing Street, in which he affirmed that his Government would meet the church leaders on a regular basis and continue to take their concerns seriously.

The BCLF formed with the aim of bringing together the "diversity of hearts and minds of black Christian leaders who share a common vision for social transformation".

Issues discussed included a commemoration of the abolition of the slave trade, crime, youth services and raising aspirations of black youth.

Other matters to be raised in future meetings with the Government include youth and education, abortion and teenage pregnancy and the charities act 2006.

The Prime Minister told the leaders, "Let's get the message across that together we can build a stronger society. What you do is not just recognised in your own communities - it's appreciated throughout the whole country."

David Lammy MP, who was also present, said, "All sides see this as a successful meeting. This is not the beginning but a continuation of real partnership to deal with issues that exist not just within the black community but nationally."

Joel Edwards, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance said: "This was a historic meeting of senior church leaders with a Prime Minister in the early stages of his administration.

"He has a track record of valuing the place of faith in building cohesive communities, where people's well being and development are taken seriously."

He concluded, "It was great to meet with the Prime Minister but just as significant that we have an opportunity to be equal partners in getting things done. We are all excited about the potential of these meetings."

Core group members of the BCLF that were present at the meeting with Gordon Brown were Bishop Joe Aldred of Churches Together in England; Rev Esme Beswick of the Joint Council for Anglo-Caribbean Churches; Rev Dr Joel Edwards, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance; Bishop John Francis, founder and Senior Pastor of Ruach Ministries; Rev Katei Kirby, CEO of the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance; Dr R David Muir, Public Policy Director of the Evangelical Alliance; Rev Nims Obunge, CEO of the Peace Alliance; Rev Dr Albert Odulele, Senior Pastor at Glory House Church; Pastor Ade Omooba, Coherent and Cohesive Voice campaigns.

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