Sheffield church leaders agree to step down after racism row
Two long-standing Sheffield church leaders have stepped down over concerns surrounding ‘racism’.
In what they said would come as a ‘shock and surprise’ to ‘many people’, Hope City Church trustees announced that senior pastors Dave and Jenny Gilpin had left their posts after 30 years.
It comes after the couple apologised for ‘hurt’ caused to church members, particularly’ members of the black community’.
A message from trustees to church members reads: “Concerns recently brought to light around the issue of racism and the leadership culture that has allowed this to happen, and the subsequent risk this represents to the church and charity, have contributed significantly to this decision and we have agreed this has been the right direction to take.
“It has become clear that Dave and Jenny recognise a season change for themselves and a desire to pass on the leadership of Hope City Church to the next generation; a church they pioneered almost 30 years ago.
“From previous statements concerning reports of racism and discrimination, you will know that we are intent on creating conversations across the church which will bring repentance, healing, understanding and change.”
The Trust went on to announce that pastors Jo and Lois Willis would become lead pastors at the Bernard Road church ‘with immediate effect’.
“We believe that we can do this journey successfully together under God’s guidance and with a clear vision to strengthen relationships, confidence and faith for the next stage of our journey as Hope City Church,” it added.
Commenting after the announcement was sent out, Colin Davies, Chair of the Board of Hope City Church, said: “Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are taking recent allegations of racial discrimination within the leadership of the church in Sheffield very seriously and we wish to make clear that racial discrimination is in no way commensurate with our church’s values or those of the wider Christian faith.
“We are implementing a detailed internal investigation to understand the extent of the issues raised and to ensure complete resolution of those issues.
“A statement has been issued to the church, confirming Pastor Dave and Jenny Gilpin’s intention to step down from their roles as Senior Ministers. New Lead Pastors for our Sheffield congregation have been appointed alongside a newly formed Interim Executive Team, who will help to guide and strengthen the church through the coming months.”