Tackling Racial Inequalities

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked – in the House of Commons on 27th January 2022.

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Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Labour, Battersea

What steps the Church of England is taking to help tackle racial inequalities.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have established the racial justice commission, chaired by my good friend Lord Boateng, in order to help the Church of England become more like the nation it serves. The commission is making good progress and will report in 2023. It updates the archbishops every six months on progress.

Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Labour, Battersea

Last April, the Church’s anti-racism taskforce published its final report that included a series of recommendations, including around participation and representation. However, I am concerned by a report by the Archbishops’ Council on racial justice, published this week, that rejects the recommendation to fund racial justice officers in each diocese and says the recommendations about shortlisting candidates from a black or ethnic minority background are unlikely to be met. That is worrying and unacceptable, as without proper commitment and investment to increase representation, there will be more decades of inaction. Does the Commissioner agree with me that there is role to play to ensure that there are adequate resources to assist the Church in achieving greater representation?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I agree with the hon. Lady that the Church has not done well enough in this area in the past, but I am sure that she will be pleased to learn that, on Tuesday this week, two UK minority ethnic bishops were consecrated at St Paul’s Cathedral. There are plans for more UK minority ethnic clergy to take part in House of Bishops meetings. I am sure that, like me, she will also be encouraged by the work of the Peter Stream in several dioceses, which has had great results in broadening both the ethnic and social diversity of those seeking ordination.