THE Church of England has launched an initiative to encourage stronger networking between clergy, ordinands, and lay ministers and leaders of global-majority or UK minority-ethnic heritage (GMH/UKME).
The Church’s Racial Justice Director, the Revd Guy Hewitt, said that the network would draw people together in one place for the first time. “We have never had a central system before. GDPR restrictions mean that dioceses are not able to share this information. So we going the direct route,” he said on Wednesday.
The purpose is to improve communication and encourage greater participation by GMH/UKME Anglicans. The network will both share information well and help to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion more widely. “We’re hoping that this will help us co-ordinate our voice, identify needs and strengthen our networking,” he said.
The new network, part of the Racial Justice Unit, is intended to meet one of the recommendations in the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce From Lament To Action (News, 22 April 2021); it called for more effective sharing of information, alongside data collection and monitoring, to help to understand and drive the changes needed in the Church.
The initiative is supported by the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice, the Committee for Minority-Ethnic Anglican Concerns, and the Anglican Minority-Ethnic Network (AMEN). All dioceses are being asked to encourage their GMH/UKME leaders to register online.
Several ethnocultural networks already exist, including the umbrella body AMEN, the Gypsy, Roma and Travellers Friendly Church, the Teahouse, the Persian and Farsi network, and the UKME Ordinands and Curates.
Fr Hewitt’s team is also planning a conference in mid-October, to which network members will be invited “to come together, to identify issues of common concern; and coordinate our strategies”, he said. The event will be the first gathering since the establishment of the C of E’s racial-justice unit, and is part of a strategy of greater participation following the 2021 report.