Candle of Justice 2023

Christians and churches are invited to join together to light a candle, pray for racial justice and commit to taking action.

Join Churches Together in England on Thursday 25 May for the #CandleOfJustice as we focus on racial violence towards young people and renew the nation’s commitment to tackling racism.

Our #CandleOfJustice theme this year is inspired by the tragic, racially-aggravated, killing of Dea-John Reid who then sadly experienced a miscarriage of justice.

This is the third year that we have invited Christians to join together in prayer on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.

The #CandleOfJustice will be a moment to light a candle, pray for racial justice and commit to taking personal and institutional action to tackle racial injustice in our society and our churches.

We are encouraging Christians and churches up and down the country to get involved and pray the Candle Of Justice prayer on 25 May.

The Candle of Justice Prayer 2023

Gracious, merciful God of justice, love and peace we thank you for the lives of young people.

We pray for young people across the nation and in particular for the family and community of Dea-John Reid.

We pray that you will continually console them through their grief as they suffer the untimely loss of their dear child.

We pray for their campaign of jury reform and that civic and church systems and institutions will always fulfil their duty to serve and protect all.

Finally, we continue to pray for young people across the nation who have suffered from racially motivated experiences and that society will be a safe and flourishing space where their unique giftings and callings can bless the world.

The prayer moment

Churches Together in England hosted online prayers for the #CandleOfJustice at 1pm on Thursday 25 May. Friends from across our member churches and partner organisation joined the zoom. We were honoured to be joined by Dea-John Reid’s mother, Joan.

Prayers were be led by:

  • Bishop Moses Owusu, Chair of Churches Together in England’s Racial Justice Working Group
  • Bishop Dr Desmond Jaddoo, Chair of the Justice 4 Dea-John campaign
  • Bishop Mike Royal, General Secretary Churches Together in England.

Dea-John’s story

Dea-John Reid, 14, died in Birmingham in May 2021. A 15-year-old was convicted of manslaughter but not his murder. His killer was given a six-and-a-half-year sentence.

At the trial, jurors were told Dea-John was “hunted down” by a group of white youths and adults who shouted racial slurs. Some were masked and they were armed with a wrench and a large kitchen knife. The teen was stabbed in front of multiple witnesses.

This tragic miscarriage of justice also highlights that young people of colour can often be perceived as perpetrators rather than victims and this can impact their attainment of justice and support from the criminal justice system when they are victims.

Following the verdict, Dea-John’s mother Joan Morris and her supporters have campaigned for a change to ensure black jurors at trials where victims are black. The jury at Birmingham Crown Court was made up of 11 white people and one of South Asian heritage.

Dea-John Reid

In England and Wales Crown courts, jury members are selected at random and challenges can be made, but the current Crown Prosecution guidelines do not allow for challenges based on ethnic mix.

Chair of the Justice 4 Dea-John campaign, Bishop Dr Desmond Jaddoo, said: “The family of Dea-John Reid have been let down and demand justice for Dea-John. They have started two petitions: The first is for a change in the law that would ensure the use of more reflective juries, as clearly the jury in this case did not reflect Birmingham. And secondly, for the introduction of a Race/Civil Rights Bill in order to address the deadly racial abuse that Dea-John was subjected to.”

Please share your #CandleOfJustice events and photos with CTE. Use the #CandleOfJustice. Share with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagramwe are @ChurchesEngland.