The Church of England says the doubling of ethnic minorities training for ministry is just “the beginning”. Ministry statistics published by the Church of England have revealed a rise from four per cent in 2016 to eight per cent in 2018 in those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds training for ordination. The Church of England’s Minority Ethnic Vocations Officer, Rosemarie Davidson Gotobed told Premier this increase is encouraging as it could inspire further ethnic diversity. “We’re seeing a number of clergy and senior clergy coming to the fore.
“People are seeing somebody like themselves and saying, ‘Wow, God is calling that person. So, God calling me might not necessarily be such a weird thing’. “According to Ms Davidson-Gotobed, many people don’t feel the career prospect of ordination is open to them. She said: “Sometimes for people, they don’t see people such as themselves in roles of ministry, whether it be at a parish level or senior clergy level. Putting those people in front and saying, look, there are people like you here is one thing.” “Some people, unfortunately, it maybe they were discouraged from taking that call because it wasn’t recognised within their church.”
Ms Davidson-Gotobed said the Church has a responsibility to model diversity: “If our country is diverse in gender, in region, in class, in ethnicity, why can’t our clergy be diverse as well? “When thinking about what God might be calling people to, why not ordained ministry?” She went on to say that some people may not consider the vocation because the subject is never discussed and that a ‘culture of conversation’ is needed to “help grow, and further the gospel.” The study also found one third of those enrolling for training were under 35 years old and the number of women entering ordained ministry has continued to rise.
The Church of England is seeing progress when it comes to diversity but Ms Davidson-Gotobed argued there is more to be done. “This is very positive, we are encouraged on the one hand but very conscious that this is not the end of a tick box exercise. “This is the beginning of a long journey and we’re up for it.” The number of men and women being ordained as deacons also saw a rise, from 485 in 2016 to 535 in 2019. The figures have been released as the Church of England seeks to fulfil a key target of a 50 per cent increase in the number of candidates going forward for ordination as part of its programme of Renewal and Reform.
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