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Archdeacon says black vicars facing 'injustices' and discrimination in Church of England

by Premier Journalist

An Archdeacon in the Church of England has said black members of the clergy are continuing to face discrimination and injustice in the denomination.

The Ven Elizabeth Adekunle, Archdeacon of Hackney said that a "lack of understanding of racial issues" in the C of E is causing many to leave the ministry altogether. Adekunle met with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Wednesday to talk about the ways the church can combat institutional racism. 

Speaking to Radio 4's Today Programme ahead of the meeting, Adekunle said that there was a "lack of desire of black people wanting to join the church over frustration among black clergy about the injustices they face and a lack of understanding of racial issues."

"And that’s not just the church," she added, "I think that’s been reflected time and time again.”

Adekunle continued: "What I think will happen is what has happened in the US where we have already seen small numbers of civil disobedience in society.

“We have seen that a little bit in Bristol and London…and we will see more of that civil disobedience in our societies in London and further afield if we are not willing and able to address the injustices in our society and that includes the church. 

“People are frustrated and angry, and they are in a position now to want to voice those opinions.”

In response to the Archdeacon's remarks, a spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said that "there is much work to be done across the Church of England to tackle a legacy of racism which affects us to this day."

Regarding the recent meeting, the spokesperson added: “This morning’s meeting with black clergy offered the chance for him to listen and engage. This week the Rev Canon Dr Chigor Chike has begun work as the Church of England’s interim National Adviser for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns. 

“The new Archbishops’ Racism Action Commission will be starting work in earnest in early 2021 to work towards significant cultural and structural change within the Church of England.”

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