CofE diversity scheme mostly white and male

Sun 26 Jul 2015
By Aaron James

It's been revealed a Church of England initiative to improve clergy diversity features mostly white, middle-aged men.

77% of the Church of England's "learning community" are male with an average age of 44, and 91% of members are white.

The figures came out when Revd Dr Hazel Whitehead, from Surrey, tabled a motion requesting them at the General Synod in York earlier this month.

The learning community, designed to make clergy more representative of British society, replaced a former fast-tracking system which was criticised by some for being too secretive.

Recently, the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, called the Anglican Church "borderline racist" because its clergy - overwhelmingly white, male and older - represented Britain so poorly.

This is particularly the case with senior Church of England clergy positions, with only a handful of bishops coming from ethnic minorities.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he hopes half of all Church of England bishops will be females by 2024.

A Church of England spokesman said: "As the transition occurs from the preferment list to the learning community, the first year was always likely to be more in the form of what it was going to replace.

"Future cohorts over the next few years are likely to be increasingly diverse."

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