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One of Britain’s oldest churches is paying tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement by installing a version of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” with Jesus recast as a black prophet.

Dubbed “A Last Supper,” the reinterpretation of the original 15th-century artwork was painted by British painter Lorna May Wadsworth, who hired Jamaican model Tafari Hinds to pose as the son of God.

The 9-foot print will be installed at the alter of St. Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire — a move prompted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

“The church is not in a strong position to preach to others about justice, racial or otherwise,” the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey John, dean of St. Albans, said in a recent statement. “But our faith teaches that we are all made equally in the image of God, and that God is a God of justice.”

He added that the church transformed the altar because “black lives matter.”

“The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da VinciShutterstock

In an effort to reconcile centuries of European colonization, Welby recently asked Church of England officials to consider the strong likelihood that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was not white. He went further by challenging churchgoers to embrace the many representations of Jesus, regardless of the Messiah’s depicted ethnicity.

“Jesus was Middle Eastern, not white. It’s important we remember this,” tweeted the archbishop on Saturday.

“But the God we worship in Christ is universal,” he continued, “and the hope he offers is good news for us all.”

Jesus was Middle Eastern, not white. It’s important we remember this.

But the God we worship in Christ is universal, and the hope he offers is good news for us all. Here are some of my favourites images of Christ from around the world.

What are yours?

— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) June 27, 2020

Wadsworth’s controversial piece, completed in 2009, became a symbol of resistance after vandals used a pellet gun to deface the artwork.

“Experts agree he would most likely have had Middle Eastern features, yet for centuries European artists have traditionally painted Christ in their own image,” said Wadsworth. She explained that her intention was to “make people question the Western myth that he had fair hair and blue eyes” when she cast Hinds to pose as Jesus.

Lorna May

“My portrayal of him is just as ‘accurate’ as the received idea that he looked like a Florentine,” she continued.

St. Albans Cathedral, which dates back to the eighth century, said that the reimagined replica will not replace the copy of Da Vinci’s original work, which also hangs in the church.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday, the Archbishop was asked if the “way the Western church portrays Jesus needs to be thought about again,” the Daily Mail reported.

“Yes of course it does,” he responded.

“You go into churches [around the world] and you don’t see a white Jesus,” he said. “You see a black Jesus, a Chinese Jesus, a Middle Eastern Jesus — which is of course the most accurate — you see a Fijian Jesus.”

Welby explained that his intention was not to suppress past traditions, but to promote the “universality of the God who became fully human.”

St. Albans CathedralGetty Images

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North Hollywood Church Apologizes For Volunteers Who Posted No Trespassing Signs Because Of Black Woman Sitting Under Tree

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A church in North Hollywood issued a statement on Facebook to atone for volunteers who posted “No Trespassing” signs because a Black woman was sitting under a tree on its property.

Video taken by the woman was posted on social media and showed the volunteers nailing the “No Trespassing” sign to the tree.

Black woman: exists white dude: ALL LIVES MATTER

— Thaddeus Shafer (@TadShafer) July 8, 2020

“But see I’m clearly not bothering anyone, I’m clearly sitting here doing work, so this is in excess of anything that needs to happen,” the woman says. She was identified by others as Alex Marshall-Brown, a Black actress and stuntwoman. After she asks a man seen using a nail gun to attach the sign to a tree if he brought out the sign just for her, and he confirms it, she says, “so unwelcoming.”

At one point, he faces her and holds up a hand and says, “All lives matter.” She replies, “I said nothing about any lives, sir.”

The video identifies the church as St. Paul First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, which took to Facebook to address the incident. The statement acknowledged the incident was not handled “in a way representative of the church or the school” and said the volunteers involved in the incident have requested to step down from their positions.

“The disrespect demonstrated by the individuals does not represent the attitude of St. Paul’s First,” St. Paul’s school’s acting Principal Santiago Botero said in the statement. “I was out of town at the time of the incident, but I believe it could’ve and should’ve been handled more respectfully.”

While the church has a policy against loitering within a certain radius of the church’s school for the safety of the children in response to incidents of vandalism, Botero said Marshall-Brown was clearly not harming any person or property.

“I am personally offended by what I saw in the video and would like to apologize on behalf of St. Paul’s First,” he said in the statement. “As Christians, it is our duty to demonstrate to others the love and mercy that Christ shows to us. Unfortunately, this did not happen yesterday.”

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