A black bishop who led prayers at Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding declared it is good to be “woke”, amid accusations of racism plaguing the Church of England.
The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, has insisted the British religious body must “further embrace racial justice” and show no fear of being called “woke”.
Bishop Hudson-Wilkin, a Black Lives Matter supporter who attended the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding in 2018, is drawing up a “race action plan” calling on the CofE to increase the number of ethnic minorities in senior roles. of the church.
“Those who are scared by the authenticity of this movement want to scare us into thinking that being woke is a sin created by people on the left,” said the Kent-based religious leader.
General Synod, the church’s legislative body, approved a motion on Sunday, introduced by Bishop Hudson-Wilkin, that said it should “encourage parishes and deaneries to develop local action plans to address issues of racial injustice.”
The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who attended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s 2018 wedding (pictured), said it is good to be “woke” as she leads a new charge for diversity within the Church of England.
In her motion, Dover Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin (pictured) also called for better data collection to monitor diversity levels in parishes.
It comes as members of the religious order spoke out about the racism they had encountered during their lives.
Lawyer Daniel Matovu, a lay member of the Synod and a graduate of Oxford University, claimed that he had been forced to wear a cross throughout his life “because of the color of my skin”.
“You white people have no idea, particularly those of you who are white, heterosexual, non-disabled males,” said Matovu, who attended the elite £48,998-a-year private school Eton College as a child after moving to the Kingdom. Joined from Uganda.
“They just gave you little sticks to carry around so you can hit the rest of us.”
David Hermitt, another lay member, said the CofE must take a stronger stance on tackling racism to reverse its falling membership numbers because “young people” are “more radical than us”.
But Dr Rakib Ehsan, author of Beyond Grievance: What the Left Gets Wrong About Ethnic Minorities, said “no sphere of British life” was free from “divisive identity thinking”, including the CofE.
He told the Telegraph: ‘By abandoning traditional Christian values in favor of the unholy trinity of diversity, equity and inclusion, the country’s established Church risks alienating conservative ethnic minorities who have little time for the politics of grievance and victimhood.’
The motion, tabled by Bishop Hudson-Wilkin, also called for better data collection to monitor diversity levels in parishes.
In an impassioned speech introducing his motion, the bishop called for racial justice to be strengthened in church governance structures.
In an impassioned speech to introduce her idea, the faith leader from the port city of Kent called for racial justice to be strengthened in church governance structures “to keep our church standing.”
He said he had “no doubt that the church must continue to work to embed racial justice throughout its life and structures; words are of no use, nor is checking boxes.”
She told the Synod: ‘When it comes to the issue of racial justice, I have heard many people use the word ‘woke’, including government ministers, certain radio presenters and people in the media. And in all cases they have used it incorrectly.
‘The term awakening originated in the US and was black terminology that spoke specifically and directly to black people about the need to wake up and remain alert, to be consciously aware.
‘So it’s not just a mere word, it’s a movement. Those who feel threatened by the authenticity of this movement want to scare us into thinking that being woke is a sin created by people on the left.’
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said the Church had learned something from historical mistakes, but added: “I continue to grieve, because what we have done has not been good enough and that is a scandal and an affront to God.” “. ‘
He told the gathering: ‘Today we discussed racial justice. Tomorrow we will think about how to move forward in response to the church’s involvement in slavery.
“And all of this requires us to be honest about the terrible failures of the past, not to shrink from the failures and challenges of the present, and to build a better future.”
Matovu warned that institutional racism is “entrenched” in the church. He said: ‘In this chamber, the vast majority of you are sitting next to and surrounded by other whites.
‘Throughout the church, the general picture is the same: in its pews, in its PCCs [parochial church councils]deanery synods, diocesan synods, at all levels up to and including the House of Bishops.
Delegates vote during the opening session of the General Synod of the Church of England
“Those who are threatened by the authenticity of this movement want to scare us into thinking that being woke is a sin created by people on the left,” said the bishop of Dover.
“Institutional racism is deeply embedded in virtually every institution in this country, including, sadly, in church life and culture.”
It comes as Yvonne Clarke, who was the first black deacon in the Church of England, will have a hearing in her appeal against what she previously alleged was a racist decision to dissolve her parish.
The hearing, before the Privy Council on Tuesday and Wednesday, will consider whether proper consultations were not carried out as required by the Equality Act 2010 and whether there was any indirect discrimination in the decision made by the diocese which was confirmed by the Equality Commissioners. Church. said law firm Leigh Day.
It follows the Diocese of Southwark’s cost-cutting proposals, approved in September 2021, which would dissolve its parish and split it between the parishes of St George, Shirley and St John, Shirley.
Ms Clarke said: ‘I overcame the most disturbing racism when I first arrived in this area, from those who would not tolerate a black female priest.
“My ministry and the work of my parish council has been to bring the word of God to the entire parish, and to be prevented from those acts of inclusion has been very hard.”
His lawyer Frances Swaine said: “My clients will demonstrate to the court how decisions about their parish were made without proper consultation and without due consideration to the unique qualities that a black woman priest and an overall majority parish council bring to an area of London. “. with a constantly growing global majority population, especially serving the migrant and refugee community.
“At a time when the Archbishop of Canterbury is spending a lot of time talking about racism in the Church of England, my clients deserve to have had the special features of their parish very carefully considered before any decision is made to get rid of them.”
A Church of England spokesman said: “It would not be appropriate for us to comment while the matter is subject to ongoing legal proceedings.”