Unreached Network

A funeral dirge for Bristol, the church and the enslaved – from the view of a Black woman

By Rosie Hopley

The following piece was penned after the BLM protests, and the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol, UK. It was inspired after reading the book of Lamentations with a group of believers.

A funeral dirge for Bristol, the church and the enslaved – from the view of a Black woman

How sad the city of Bristol when it looks on all its riches and how its wealth has been brought into the city gates.

The wealth has come from suffering and death and oppression of people from the far off place, taken from their homes, their loved ones and trafficked across the sea.

The kidnapped ones have been separated at the hands of people near, and those who come from afar.

Their everyday lives in towns, villages, and Kingdoms – gone.

No longer able to look upon palaces, and places in their familiar lands,

no longer able to look upon sons and daughters,

mothers and fathers,

brothers and sisters,

separated by chains and a nation and an ocean.

Their enemies gloated seeing people brought low, and carried off, and never to return.

Did they know?

Generations separated.

Names lost.

Lineages gone and cast aside.

What did we do wrong as people to deserve this?

What actions did our hands do to bring this fate upon us?

The Creator sees our misery from on high, and

Here we are bound,

Hand to hand

By neck

By feet.

The Christians above the dungeon are offering their thanks to God,

In their church.

Creator, you hear their praises above

Do you hear our cries for mercy below?

All of us made in your image

Created with dignity and equal worth

Creator God in heaven, we weep

We are anguished

We weep for our sons and daughters


We fear we shall see them no more

Our enemies near and far have prevailed

Together they have become collaborators to see our downfall

Creator God, we call out to you,

but our cries are not heard.

Those outside here look on our lamenting and weeping,

there is no pity or comfort from them.

They lift their praises to You.

My enemies gloat over me, taking joy in my suffering

How can we survive this?

How can we get through this?

What will become of us?

Creator God, you know our feelings, and our transgressions.

Remember their sins as you have remembered mine.

Deal with them as You do I.