The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised again for the racism experienced by members of the Windrush generation in Church of England churches.
Addressing the House of Lords this week, Justin Welby said that the Church of England had been “in many ways as bad as the hostile environment”.
His comments follow an apology by the Church of England General Synod last month.
In the Lords, he expressed his regret over “the terrible reception that we gave the Windrush generation, the vast majority of whom were Anglicans, when they came here”, adding that he would continue to apologise for the treatment they experienced.
“They were often turned away from Church of England churches, or were given a very weak welcome or no welcome at all,” he said.
“As a result, they went off and formed their own churches, which have flourished much better than ours. We would be so much stronger had we behaved correctly.
“I have apologised for that, and I continue to do so and see the wickedness of our actions.”
His comments were in response to the publication of the Windrush lessons learned review, which found that the Home Office was guilty of “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race and the history of the Windrush generation within the department”.
In delivering the findings, Wendy Williams, an inspector of constabulary, said that while she was “unable to make a definitive finding of institutional racism”, the Home Office’s failings were “consistent with some elements of the definition of institutional racism”.
In response to the review, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “truly sorry” for the scandal, which had seen members of the Windrush generation deported, left without work or unable to access the NHS.
The Archbishop called on the Home Office to consider working with black-majority church leaders as it seeks to make changes in light of the damning findings.
He said they had been “gracious, wise and strong” in the face of the scandal.
“They have much to teach us,” he said.
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