Church of England Diocese of Guildford Dunsfold


22 Apr 2021, 10:15 a.m.
All shortlists for senior Church of England posts must include at least one ethnic minority candidate, a report has said.

It is one of 47 recommendations made by the Archbishops' Anti-Racism Taskforce, which was established last year after the Black Lives Matter protests.

It said the Church has "an alarmingly retrograde trend" when it comes to ethnic minority senior bishops.

Failing to act would have "devastating effects" on the future of the Church.

The archbishops of Canterbury and York welcomed the report but did not commit to enforcing the recommendation on shortlists.

It comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, this week said the Church should not use non-disclosure agreements, following BBC Panorama revelations that they were being used to silence staff complaining of racism.

The taskforce examined 25 previous reports on racial justice over the past 36 years and said that despite hundreds of recommendations, the Church had overseen "decades of inaction" which "carry consequences".

It called for annual reporting on recruitment, mandatory training in all dioceses to embed anti-racism practice, and for full-time racial justice officers to be employed in every diocese for a five-year term.

It wants to see a plan drawn up to increase representation of minority ethnic people to at least 15% at all levels of governance by 2030, reflecting the proportion of minority ethnic worshippers.

Currently, there are just five minority ethnic bishops and nine deans, archdeacons, and senior staff.

The most recent figures reveal 93.7% of senior staff in the Church - including bishops, archdeacons and cathedral clergy - were white British.

All the proposals have a timetable for action and details of which part of the Church is responsible for delivery.

"A failure to act now will be seen as another indication, potentially a last straw for many, that the Church is not serious about racial sin," the report said.

The taskforce also said statues linked to slavery in churches should be given extra context.

"While history should not be hidden, we also do not want to unconditionally celebrate or commemorate people who contributed to or benefitted from the tragedy that was the slave trade," the report said.