Black Anglican leader says church must grasp chance for change

By staff writers
January 21, 2009

A senior black Anglican has said that the Church of England and the Anglican Communion should grasp the climate of change signalled by Barack Obama's ascendancy, using it to transform their own culture.

The comments came from the Rev Rose Hudson Wilkin, chair of the Church of England's Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, and a member of the General Synod, in a message yesterday concerning the impact of the inauguration of the new American president.

Ms Hudson Wilkin declared: "The election last November of Barack Obama ... was a truly redemptive moment and one of pride and aspiration for many people. It was a particularly redemptive moment in terms of the legacy that African Americans have endured for over two centuries - and this was not lost on the President elect, Barack Hussein Obama."

"It is totally right that there was joy inside the tears of many for the whole of the United States. But the moment also gave the world a new iconography - a first family that is not defined by any one ethnic group. This is a symbol of immense significance to millions of people, not just in America but across the world.

She went on: "The Church of England has a significant number of minority ethnic people among its regular worshippers, and of course among those within its pastoral care. As a Church we must decide on how we will respond in the light of this truly transformative moment. Despite the contentious issues around the world-wide Communion, the election of Obama is a prophetic pointer to the possibilities which open up if hearts and minds have the confidence to change by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Said Ms Hudson Wilkin: "The Archbishop of Canterbury has used the term 'Kairos Time.' This is truly a 'Kairos Time' [moment of significance and decision] when we urge the Church to begin to nurture a leadership that can engage and function at all levels within it - across all ethnicities - but this must be done intentionally. This affects us as individuals, locally, nationally and internationally through the Anglican Communion."

She concluded: "All could reflect on their key aspirations concerning Hope and Transformation in Christ but we call on the Church of England to renew its commitment tangibly to minority ethnic people. This is what Obama's Presidential Campaign was all about, but it is unfinished business in the Church. Can we ever have 'business as usual' in our Church again?"

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