Racism must be 'dealt with decisively', says Pentecostal leader

(Photo: Unsplash/Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona)

Pentecostal leader Pastor Agu Irukwu has said that the Church must go beyond words and take action if racism is to be eradicated. 

Irukwu, leader of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in the UK, said that the events of recent weeks, with protests around the world in response to the death of George Floyd, reflected a "terrible state of affairs". 

He said that while he felt anger over Floyd's death, the tragedy has given him "the resolve to make sure that this evil is dealt with decisively". 

Irukwu made the comments in conversation with Gavin Calver, CEO of the Evangelical Alliance UK, who agreed that action was needed to "get rid of this evil of racism". 

"When social media has forgotten [and] has moved on to the next thing ... we need to keep going as the Church and say this is not OK.  We need to keep working on this issue," he said. 

Irukwu said it was fantastic to see conversations and "introspection" happening in larger numbers across the nation, but added that "structures need to change" because racism is "really systemic and institutional in a lot of places". 

"We must put legs to a lot of this talking that is going on," he said. "We must get to the place where there is concrete action." 

In a plea to white people, he asked that they engage in "listening", while to church leaders, he urged them to speak out into society as well as "inwards" to their own organisations. 

Irukwu said the Church must continue to speak out until change comes, and make sure that the issue of racism does not "slip off the radar".

"That would be a colossal failure if it just becomes something that happened and we move on with life," he said.

"I think God has created for us what I have heard some people describe as a kairos moment. We must seize the moment as the Church."