First BAME episcopal appointment for 20 years

22 December 2016

DIOCESE OF SOUTHWARK

“Honoured”: the Vicar of St John’s, Upper Holloway, Prebendary Woyin Karowei Dorgu, who will be consecrated for Woolwich in March

“Honoured”: the Vicar of St John’s, Upper Holloway, Prebendary Woyin Karowei Dorgu, who will be consecrated for Woolwich in March

ONE MONTH after a large group of black and minority-ethnic (BAME) clergy described the lack of non-white senior clergy in the Church of England as a “crisis” in a letter to the Church Times, Downing Street has announced the appointment of the first BAME bishop for 20 years.

The next Bishop of Woolwich will be the Vicar of St John’s, Upper Holloway, Prebendary Woyin Karo­wei Dorgu, it was announced on Tuesday. When he takes up his post, he will be the first black or ethnic-minority person consecrated bishop since the present Archbishop of York became the Bishop of Stepney in 1996.

The letter, from a group of BAME clergy, lawyers, and other public figures, castigated the Church for appointing so few BAME people to senior posts that “the entirety of its BAME senior leadership can fit in the back of a London cab” (Letters, 18 November).

Now, that group will be slightly larger, with the appointment of Prebendary Dorgu. The 58-year-old was born and brought up in Nigeria, and worked as a GP before studying at London Bible College, and then training for ordination at Oak Hill Theological Col­lege. He has been Vicar of St John’s since 2000.

”We are greatly honoured to be invited to share and contribute to this dynamic ministry of bringing God’s love to the people of Wool­wich and the diocese,” Prebendary Dorgu said.

Speaking to reporters after his appointment was announced, he said: “I want to encourage BAME vocations and more participation in ministry. I will celebrate the divers­ity in race, ability, gender, sexuality, and class. . . Celebrating our differ­ences is a gift.”

A 2014 survey suggested that 15 per cent of England was non-white; but only seven per cent of Anglican churchgoers and just 3.4 per cent of clergy were non-white (Features, 11 November).

Prebendary Dorgu is married to Mosun, a child psychiatrist, and he supports Arsenal Football Club. He will be consecrated at Southwark Cathedral on 17 March.

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