The Church of England has been criticised by one if its own bishops as “borderline racist”. The Right Rev Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, said the church needed to do much more to recruit ethnic minorities, accusing it of “complacency and neglect”.
In report presented to the church’s General Synod in York this week, the bishop says that 3.8 per cent of candidates for ministry were from ethnic minorities last year, compared to 5.2 per cent in 2011, according to The Times.
He said that while church “may not be guilty of racism … there’s still racism within the church”.
He also said it was “painful and deeply embarrassing” when he discovered that just by ordaining two archdeacons he had doubled the number of senior ethnic minority clergy within the church.
Speaking at the Synod yesterday, the bishop added: “I think that to describe the church as institutionally racist is to miss the point. Unconscious bias is a better way of approaching it. That is borderline racist.”
Examples of people from ethnic minorities occupying senior positions within the church include Archbishop of York John Sentamu and Dean of Manchester Rogers Govender.
The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the first black woman to serve as chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons said the “leadership and ministry of the church no longer looks like or reflects the communities we serve”.
The religious face of Britain has been changing in recent decades, partially thanks to immigration and the faiths newly arrived minorities bring with them.
Breitbart London reported last week that Cardinal Nichols, the most senior Catholic clergyman in England and Wales, praised immigration for helping keep Catholicism alive in the country.
The number of Muslims in Britain is now above 2.5 million – making up 4.5 per cent of the total population – thanks partially due to migration.
It is unknown whether the bishop’s report recommends conversion of these groups in order to make the Church of England more ethnically diverse.