Call for church to include minorites
The Church of England has been urged to do more to include ethnic minorities in its congregations, clergy and positions of power.
The General Synod, meeting in York, heard claims that black people are being excluded from aspects of church life as members agreed to adopt recommendations of a report on issues arising from the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.
The debate in the Synod followed a presentation of new survey statistics which showed that just over 3% of those on the current electoral roll of Church members are from an ethnic background - compared with 9% in the population of England as a whole. The racial composition of the Synod is 97% white.
The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, from London, told the meeting: "Minority ethnic people within the Church of England are not asking for the crumbs which fall from the table. We are simply stating that it is imperative for us to be at the table.
"I am not convinced that God only calls white males to fulfil his will within the Church of England. We are not outsiders looking in and bashing the church. We are a fully paid up and committed part of the life of the church."
The Rev Simon Pothen, from Pinner, west London, said: "The police have taken action, public services have taken action and the Church has been dragged kicking and screaming into taking action."
"We utterly fail as a church if we don't adequately reflect our society. We don't do that at present."
The Synod voted to adopt the recommendations of the Call To Act Justly report.
These include advice to undertake regular statistical monitoring and to introduce "racial awareness and cultural diversity" training for those in leadership positions.