The Archbishops' Adviser for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, Dr Sanjee Perera has resigned, hinting at tensions over her role's continued place alongside the Archbishops' Racial Justice Commission.
Posting part of her resignation letter on Twitter, Dr Perera said she had resigned with 'deep sadness and regret' but that once a Racial Justice Director was appointed she would need to vacate the role. However she went on to say that her role had not always been easy amidst 'significant changes to the National Church Institutions (NCIs) and the introduction of the Archbishops' Racial Justice Commission which she said had been increasingly demanding of her time in a 'secretarial capacity'.
Calling for a clearer mandate for her successor, Dr Perera said there had been no administrative provision or resources to support her work since she was appointed eighteen months' ago.
In her letter of resignation to the Church of England's Secretary General Willian Nye, Dr Perera wrote that she wanted to give the new Director 'space to inhabit the role without tripping over an existing staff member on a conflating permanent contract who has inhabited this strategic leadership role before them and is complex for the institution to remove.'
Describing her decision to resign, she said she had needed to 'dig deep beyond my own self-interest and disappointment to find the generosity and dignity to step down at this time.'
Dr Perera, who is an honorary lay canon of Liverpool Cathedral and an Associate Fellow with the Open University School of Law, revealed that she had resigned some weeks ago but had kept it confidential until the announcement of a new Director, which is expected imminently.
A spokesperson for the Church of England said :
"We would like to thank Canon Dr Sanjee Perera for her tireless work in support of racial justice in the Church, particularly during the last two years in which she has been the Archbishops' adviser, but also for her commitment to this agenda over many years."
The Archbishops' Racial Justice Commission was set up in 2021 and is tasked with responding to and rooting out systemic racism within the Church. It reports to Most Rev Justin Welby and Most Rev Stephen Cottrell every six months and its current remit runs until 2023.