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Bishops seek twice as many minority-ethnic dignitaries

25 April 2014


State role: Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons and  Vicar of Holy Trinity with St Philip, Dalston, and All Saints', Haggerston 

State role: Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons and  Vicar of Holy Trinity with S...

AN INITIATIVE to double the number of minority-ethnic clergy in senior positions, "Turning Up the Volume", was announced by the House of Bishops on Wednesday.

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, is leading a task group of 12 lay and ordained people to develop a "clear plan to address any issues which may be hindering the appointment of UK minority-ethnic clergy to senior posts".

There are currently fewer than ten minority-ethnic people in senior positions in the Church. They include the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu; the Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd Rogers Govender; and three archdeacons: the Ven. Daniel Kajumba (Reigate), Dr John Perumbalath (Barking), and the Ven. Wilhelmina Smallman (Southend).

Although there has been a 20-per-cent increase in the number of minority-ethnic ordinands since 2005, minority-ethnic clerics represent only three per cent of all stipendiary clergy. The latest Census suggests that about 13 per cent of the population is from a minority-ethnic group.

The national adviser on minority-ethnic Anglican concerns, Dr Elizabeth Henry, said: "We believe it is imperative to take positive action in tackling inequalities. . . It is our hope that this and efforts to increase UK minority-ethinc vocations to ordained ministry will result in much needed greater diversity in the Church at every level."

Last year, Dr Henry warned that the failure of the Church of England to welcome immigrants from the Caribbean in the 1960s had resulted in "broken links", and the loss of not just one generation of churchgoers, but subsequent ones as well (News, 25 October).

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