Sheffield church promises ‘to do better’ after excluding people of colour from top positions

A Sheffield-based church has promised to do better after falling under fire for excluding people of colour from the church’s top positions.

An investigation was launched after multiple claims were made that Hope City Church, based on Bernard Road, had marginalised people of colour in order to prevent appearing “too black”.

The report highlights that there was “a number of noticeable instances where people of colour had felt intentionally discriminated against on the basis of race”.

These instances were not isolated to the Sheffield congregation alone.

Senior pastor and co-founder of the church, Dave Gilpin, resigned last year after claims surrounding his involvement with racial marginalisation appeared on social media.

Allegations of racism began under a post on the pastors instagram account, surrounding the Black Lives Matter protests. This lead to an email address being set up to allow anyone to submit any experiences they had.

The report said: “Some people said that it was felt by the senior pastor that having black people on certain teams would deter white people from joining the church.

“Some were told that the senior pastor did not want to see black people in certain roles I order to manage appearance and first impressions.”

In a statement, responding to the allegations last year, Mr Gilpin said: “I have always had a vision of creating a diverse, multicultural church.

“Because we were getting, for a period of time, fewer white people attending in Sheffield I tried to make the church more appealing to what I thought white people wanted.”

Following the release of the report, Colin Davis, chair of the Board of Hope City Church, said: “Hope City Church recognises that racism, even unintentional racism, has no place in our organisation and we have implemented in-depth measures to create a fully inclusive church.”

With reports that some members of the black community felt ‘overlooked’ and ‘excluded’, despite their services, Hope City Church said: “Our board of trustees now takes a fully active tole within the leadership culture of Hope City Church.”

The church also promised to make “regular reviews and monitoring” to ensure that the church is continually strengthened as a multi racial faith community.


Written by Madelynne Flack

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