The Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) has been forced to make two staff redundant and reduce co-ordinator position from a full to part time role, after the Bishops Conference of England and Wales (BCEW) decided that the organisation would only receive a part of the Racial Justice Sunday collection.
The changes have seen national co-ordinator Rosie Bairwal and schools project development worker Charlene Fraser (part time) made redundant, whilst administrator Gloria Oham has been reduced from a full to part time role.
Previously, CARJ received the entire RJS collection which is taken on Racial Justice Sunday each year – traditionally the second Sunday in the month. Last year, the BCEW decided that part of the collection would go to its own Office for Migration for its work in combatting trafficking and modern slavery.
The office for Migration is headed by Migration Bishop Patrick Lynch, who is also president of CARJ. “The Bishops’ Conference is exploring the most appropriate ways of using the monies collected from the Racial Justice Sunday collection, according to the changing needs around racial justice and social integration in England and Wales. The monies are currently distributed between CARJ and the Office for Migration Policy, as explained to parish priests in a letter from the CATEW chairman Archbishop Malcolm McMahon in 2014. The Bishops continue to review their strategic priorities and fund those priorities accordingly. Any budgetary decisions will be ratified at the next Bishops’ Conference plenary in November,” said a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops Conference.
Established in 1984 to promote the voice of black and minority ethnic Catholics in the Church and beyond, CARJ later became an agency of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales. Over recent years, CARJ has had a growing reliance on the RJS collection, with it accounting for more than 75% of its income. The collection for RJS came to £106,000 in 2013 and £105,000 for 2012.
“CARJ has been in existence for more than thirty years. We began life with very little funding, having to rely on the voluntary energy of those committed to racial justice. More recently we have enjoyed the support of parishes through the Racial Justice Sunday (RJS) annual collection,” said Mrs Sutton. “The Bishops have now asked us to share the income from RJS with some others in the Church doing similar or related work. This will leave us, for the foreseeable future, with reduced staff capacity and a need for increased voluntary involvement. We hope the situation will be temporary and that we will be able to find new sources of financial support," wrote Yogi Sutton, chair of CARJ trustees in a communication to members. “Meanwhile, our commitment has not changed. We are determined that the work should continue to grow, deepen and thrive. It is clear that the coming years, in a changing world and with a new government, will offer a range of old and new challenges. We ask for your support as we seek to face those challenges creatively. We will be in touch with you in the near future to explore possibilities for effective action and creative partnership in the struggle for a more just, more equal, more cooperative society.”
- published Catholic Herald - 11/9/2015