“If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected – those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most! – and listens to their testimony.” (No Name in the Street – James Baldwin)
As a local pastor, regional minister and now leader of the New Testament Church of God (NTCG) in England & Wales, I often wonder “Is justice being done?” “Am I truly speaking on behalf of those who have no voice?”
Civil Rights Activist James Baldwin points us to where we must begin our questioning. Quite often we come away from our conferences or ecumenical gatherings with a sense of achievement of a job well done, because we feel that we have advocated well on behalf of the vulnerable. Unfortunately, our conclusions have been arrived at through deliberation amongst people with similar circumstances – that of privilege and power. As churches together, we must have the courage to hear from and carefully listen to the painful testimonies of those who have been wronged and silenced by those who are the so-called ‘administers of justice’.
It is only by listening to those affected sectors of society that we can begin to find solutions that will be effective and long-lasting.
As the New Testament Church of God celebrates its 70th year in the United Kingdom, it is our hope that we will be a relational, relevant church that reimagines new ways of connecting with our communities.
The Blood Cries Out
Bishop Claion is an accomplished poet. Here’s an extract from a 2021 work:
Beef in the streets and none on the table
Pie in the sky won’t cut it in Croydon
Man dem making bread for some bacon.
Living the dream of a nightmare situation
Look at my drip, all dripping and bloody
The Blood cries out loud a bradda just whet me
The Blood cries out from your nan’s front garden
It’s cries out loud from a tenth floor landing, a stairwell in Peckham, in Deptford, in Croydon.
It cries out help but no one’s listening
A mum cries out from the loss she’s feeling.
Like child soldiers recruited for a pointless war
Olders grooming youngers and so on and so on.
Absent fathers who’ve let the side down
Enabling mothers that are hiding the guns.
Chaotic homes where everyone shouts
These are the things that the blood cries out.
More about Bishop Claion
Claion Grandison accepted Christ at the age of 14 at his home church, The New Testament Church of God (NTCG), Waltham Park, Kingston.
From 2000 to 2003 he served as regional Youth and Christian Education Director for The New Testament Church of God, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, St Kitts and Nevis, bringing a new life and energy to the youth of the region.
On returning to the UK he pastored the NTCG church in Woolwich at a very turbulent period. His tenure pioneered many initiatives, including the Mentoring Leadership Programme MLP, The Collaborative (Network for businesses, social enterprises and charities), Floretta’s Kids supporting families with meals during school holidays and weekends, and the establishment of a homeless kitchen and hardship fund during the pandemic.
Bishop Grandison graduated from Spurgeon’s College in 2017 with a degree in Church Based Theology and has since been a visiting lecturer and retreat director for new students and final year ordinands.
He served as a member of the NTCG National Executive Council from 2012 to 2022. In January 2021, he was promoted to serve as District Overseer in West Croydon, until his promotion to the role of Administrative Bishop in March 2022.
Bishop Grandison has been privileged to work alongside a number Croydon grassroots charities and the Metropolitan Police, making several visits to Scotland Yard in a bid to help reduce crime and lift aspirations within the Borough.
He has been married to Sonia Grandison for 28 years and they have two adult children, Samara and Zephan.