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UK News

Black ordinand refutes 'apology' from C of E after rejection from white majority parish

by Heather Preston

A black ordinand who was denied a curacy position in a white majority parish says a "wrong choice of words" does not excuse the Church of England's actions, after it issued a public statement of apology.

The Church of England issued an apology to Augustine Tanner-Ihm after it was reported that he was rejected from a curacy position, in part, due to his ethnicity.

Curacy in the Church of England is a post taken up after ordination, often supporting the vicar pastorally and getting preaching experience before they may become a vicar themselves.

Mr Tanner-Ihm's rejection email, received on 14th February said: "I am afraid that despite some of your obvious gifts, we do not think it worth pursuing a conversation with you about the curacy position at [omitted]. We are not confident that there is sufficient 'match' between you and the particular requirements of that post. 

"Firstly, the demographic of the parish is monochrome white working class, where you might feel uncomfortable. Second, we feel you would be best suited to a curacy with a more experienced incumbent than the one in [omitted]." 

This curacy rejection is one of eight Tanner-Ihm claims he has received.

In response, the Church of England issued a public apology for the distress Tanner-Ihm's rejection letter had caused him.

It states that the sender of the original email sent Mr Tanner-Ihm an apology the same day after "quickly recognising and regretting my poor choice of words." 

"I am very sorry indeed that what I said was hurtful to Mr Tanner-Ihm. It was careless, thoughtless and hasty and I still regret my choice of words," it reads.

The statement goes on to say that the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, also wrote and apologised to Augustine Tanner-Ihm and expressed his personal commitment and that of the diocese "to the increase and flourishing of BAME candidates for ministry and more widely the inclusion of BAME people in the churches, chaplaincies and schools here."

It addd: "The Diocese of St Albans make a further, full and unreserved apology now to Mr Tanner-Ihm for the hurt caused to him."

Following the statement issued on the 17th June, Tanner-Ihm posted the following response on Twitter: 

"Apologies for 'the wrong choice of words' isn't an apology. It would have been kind to send this to me before a press release"

 

 

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