Champions “You can’t be Santa, you’re black!”

Places of influence lend themselves to a higher standard of accountability than most, especially when they run as a charity and their mission statement involves looking after the marginalised and the vulnerable. It is important that the accountability of these places is kept in check, but unfortunately some go under the radar with their deceit until people start calling them out. Obviously, this doesn’t go down well with these types of organisations; they thrive on silence, lies and manipulation.

I have shared several stories about Champions Church in Dudley UK after being a member there for over 17 years, which gave hundreds of others the courage to share their personal dealings with the church and the leaders, in particular Mark & Gillian Burchell. I have been surprised, saddened, heartbroken, astounded and appalled by the hundreds of stories I have been sent to read but one has stuck in my mind; I need to share this with you, it’s too important not to.

There has often been scenarios involving subtle racism, if racism can ever be classed as subtle, over the years, even when I was there I witnessed it first hand, but I was too scared to even confront it back then, and for that I sincerely apologise and will never ever let fear stop me again. I’ve had a few people tell of the times when Gillian would call them “Black mommas” from the platform, or the time when someone was in the audience and they won a prize and were told to smile to show their teeth so they could see them. Absolutely vulgar behaviour. Racist, disgusting behaviour. The list goes on!

Then here we are with a incident involving Santa. Champions Church love holding a Christmas event each December, run by volunteers. The whole event is a money making scheme, you even have to pay to get on site sometimes. There is a carol service which you have to pay for, expensive street food vendors, basically a mini Christmas market style event. This is aimed at the local community which is suffering harshly, as the rest of the UK are, from the cost of living crisis as an already poverty stricken area.

Each Christmas there is someone who plays the role of Santa in an expensive grotto. For several years this was my father in law, he was the cutest Santa, then he woke up to the vile behaviour of the church and ran for the hills, I digress. For the Christmas event in 2022 a member of the church was going to be Santa, a loyal and faithful much loved member, he grew his beard for the part and was days away from the event. Pastor Mark called him up, he knew him well, and said that he could no longer be Santa because he was black, the leaders and their children had been talking and it wouldn’t look right because he was black! Santa was cancelled until a white replacement could be found! I was absolutely disgusted. The racism at Champions Church is vulgar. The man left the church, and several others with him.

“You can’t be Santa because you’re black!”

Do Mark & Gillian know that Jesus wasn’t white? But also neither was St Nicholas!

So, if you go there, should you??

NB: I’d like to thank the people that have shared their stories with me, you are brave and I will ensure these stories are heard until the place is held fully accountable, it wont be long now. The abuse, the racism, the homophobia, the transphobia, the spiritual abuse, the emotional abuse, the sexual abuse, the predatory behaviour, the manipulation, the misuse of funds, the bullying, the financial coercion, the discrimination etc WILL stop.

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