If I'm honest, it’s been a distressing time in recent days to be a Yorkshire cricket fan. For those who are not aware of my heritage (and confused by my distinctly Lancashire dialect), I was born in Bradford, the son of another Yorkshireman. I lived there only for the first 6 months of my life, but enough to ensure the right to play cricket for the county of my birth. Alas, I was never good enough to play, but nevertheless enjoyed the occasional trips to Headingley with my dad when he was alive, to support the white rose together. I remember sharing our excitement when local league players, particularly of South Asian descent, began to represent their home county, drawn as many were, from the Bradford area.
However little did we know (until now) of the struggles that many players of those early cohorts had, to find acceptance and fair treatment. Sadly, it would appear that the 'white' element of our county flower, took precedence, and I am embarrassed and ashamed by the actions of my now tainted club which was once my pride and joy.
However, discrimination on the basis of colour hasn’t in the past simply been the preserve of sporting clubs, but other organisations and institutions too. It’s still hard to hear the tales of the knock-backs those from the West Indies received when arriving in Britain after the war and clutching their baptism certificates, were told: “this isn’t the church for you”. Thank God then for our own church congregation and wider community. I took time to view the latest pictures posted of our recent Caribbean celebration, and it was so heartwarming to see so many ages, nationalities and cultures represented – all enjoying each others’ company, all united in celebration.
I’m reminded of a display which was sited in the corner of our church worship room, a vast swathe of national flags (that Evan and I would add to and re-insert when they fell down!) which encircled the words “All one in Christ!”. Even if the display is there no longer, may we as church continue to strive to ensure that all are equally loved, equally supported and equally valued, for we would certainly be much the poorer without each other!
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