C of E seeks to change 'pale, male and stale' leadership

By staff writers
July 12, 2011

The Church of England is responding to accusations of a "pale, male and stale" leadership with renewed efforts towards achieving greater diversity.

The General Synod of the established church, its governing body, which is meeting this week, has voted overwhelmingly in favour of positive action to recruit more ethnic minority clergy.

A report by the Venerable Daniel Kajumba, Archdeacon of Reigate, had indicated that only 1.1 per cent of bishops, archdeacons and cathedral deans posts are filled by non-white people.

The four black leaders 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 Kajumba himself.

Dr Michael Nazir Ali ceased to be Bishop of Rochester some months ago.

The report pointed out that in contrast to its leadership profile, Church of England congregations are composed of up to 90 per cent ethnic minorities in inner cities, together with a growing proportion of black and Asian worshippers in rural and suburban areas.

Kajumba said that there had been no significant change in the demography of leadership over the past ten years - in "striking contrast" to growing numbers in Parliament and in wider society.

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

"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," Kajumba added.

He urged the Church to be much more vigilant against racism, in both "blatant" and subtle forms, and the role it plays in the recruitment of clergy.

Under the new plans, 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 also 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.


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