Thirty percent of the candidates recommended for ordination training in the Diocese of Southwark this year are from UKME or BAME backgrounds.
Five out of a total of 17 candidates were put forward between January and July of this year.
Four out of the five candidates have also been recommended for leadership positions - incumbent status, meaning their potential to lead a parish has been recognised.
Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Deputy Director of Vocations, Rev Raymond Baudon, spoke to Premier: "The most recent comparable figure was in 2016, where the percentage was 25 percent. So we're seeing a slow, but steady increase, which is great for us, really."
In March this year, the Diocese's Synod unanimously approved the Diocese of Southwark Anti-Racism Charter.
Moving forward, Rev Raymond said the Diocese is aiming to build on the successes of this year:
"First of all, whatever we've achieved this year could easily roll back in future years. So we absolutely need to maintain the position that we're in, but also consciously build on it as well. And I think that word confidence is key there, that it takes a lot of confidence to be able to put your hand up and say, actually, I think God's calling me to ministry. And if you're somebody who has consistently throughout their life received feedback that somehow they're not quite part of society, in a way, then, to have that confidence is very difficult. I've seen it myself in candidates that I've been working with, just to be able to say, 'No, actually, you're able to do this, no matter what other people have told you, you're as much a child of God and as much loved by God as anybody else'. And so having a place in the church is as much there for you as it is for anybody else. So we can't rest on these results from this year. We have to keep building on them."
Archdeacon of Croydon, the Venerable Dr Rosemarie Mallett, who is the Diocesan Lead on Racial Justice, said in a statement: "The Diocese of Southwark has committed itself to an anti-racism strategy across all aspects of our diocesan life together. A key part of the Southwark vision is the identifying and training of future church leaders, lay and ordained, so that the leadership better reflects the people and parishes we serve.
"Therefore, it is good news to learn that 30 per cent of all the candidates who have been recommended for ordination training beginning in autumn 2021 come from a UKME background. This figure is close to the number of people from UKME and global majority origin and heritage in our churches and in the wider parish also. It is also good to hear that the majority of those recommended will be training for incumbency status and their gifts for leadership in the Church recognised. We are thankful for all who have encouraged and enabled these candidates and look forward to their blessing the Church through their service in years to come."