The Church of England is starting several programs in response to a finding that Christians of South Asian descent feel unwanted in mainstream UK parishes.
A conference recently discovered that south Asian Christians feel alienated in mainstream congregations, to the point that some established churches that are either language or culture specific, the Guardian said.
South Asian Woman. Credit:satsal/sxc.hu
The South Asian Forum, which was open to all Christian denominations, came together to discuss the issues affecting South Asian Christians in the UK. It was hosted by the Evangelical Alliance, the Guardian said.
Those of South Asian descent typically have ancestors from countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Currently in Wolverhampton alone, there are 11 ethnic minority small churches. One of them uses the dhol and other traditional Indian instruments. Punjabi is spoken in the worship service, the Guardian said.
The Church of England noted that in response, a vicar in Walthamstow in east London is trying to engage Urdu-speaking members of his flock into the daily life of the larger church body, the Guardian said.
One diocese tasked a vicar, the Rev Pam Daniel, to work on drawing more ethnic minorities into the Anglican priesthood. A 2007 survey showed that only 2.2 percent of the Church of England’s 12,000 licensed clergy are of ethnic minorities, the Guardian said.
The Conference findings paralleled a recent experience in Parliament when a black woman was named chaplain to the House of Commons. Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkins, born in Jamaica, was the choice of Commons speaker John Bercow, the Daily Mail said.
However the Dean of Westminster Abbey, Rev. Dr. John Hall, chose Andrew Tremlett, 46, a canon at Bristol Cathedral. Usually the Commons Chaplain is also the rector of St. Margaret’s Church, and sub-dean of Westminster Abbey, the Daily Mail said.
The norm is for the Speaker to approve the dean’s choice, as the latter deals directly with the Queen. However Bercow instead split from the Abbey. Wilkins is now Commons Chaplain and Tremlett is charged with the Abbey and St. Margaret’s. He will have an apartment in the Abbey Cloisters—a privilege normally for the Commons chaplain, the Daily Mail said.
A campaign is ongoing to pressure the Church of England to permit women bishops and to help ethnic minorities get higher public posts. Wilkins is perceived to be the first Church of England bishop if the ban on women is lifted, the Daily Mail said.