Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Church votes to recruit minorities

Monday 11 July 2011 17:44 BST

The Church of England has voted to tackle claims of a "pale, male and stale" leadership with a new campaign to recruit more ethnic minority people.

Members of the General Synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of positive action to recruit ethnic minority clergy into the church's leadership.

The move came after a report by the Venerable Daniel Kajumba, Archdeacon of Reigate, showed only 1.1% of bishops, archdeacons and cathedral deans posts are filled by ethnic minorities.

The four ethnic minority clergy in these roles are Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, the Rt Rev David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of Europe, The Very Rev Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester Cathedral, and himself in his post as Archdeacon of Reigate, he said.

This was in spite of congregations of up to 90% ethnic minorities in inner cities, he added, and a growing proportion of ethnic minority worshippers in rural and suburban areas.

The Ven Kajumba said there had been no change over the last 10 years in the proportion of ethnic minority people in top roles, in "striking contrast" to growing numbers in Parliament and in wider society.

"Looking at the recent visit of President Obama, when minority ethnic people were visible and prominent - what can we say for ourselves?" he said.

"Most often they are seen as acolytes and serving tea and coffee. Not that it is not a worthwhile service, but we need this participation in every sector and aspect of church life," he said.

The Ven Kajumba added that the Church of England should be vigilant against racism, in both "blatant" and subtle forms, and the role it plays in the recruitment of clergy.

All diocesan bishops are to be asked to look for ethnic minority clergy who are qualified to join the "preferment list" of suitable candidates for promotion.

Figures will be collected for each of the Church of England dioceses for the number of black, Asian and other minority ethnic clergy and laity in "significant" roles.

These include suffragan bishops, deans, archdeacons and residentiary canons along with other key posts.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in