A report has been published entitled “Celebrating diversity in the Church of England”.
The analysis of the role of people from ethnic minorities was interesting and quite closely mirrored some trends explored in an Inclusive Church event about racial minorities which I attended in Stockport around this time last year.
The positive news was that, in some dioceses, the ethnic profile of core congregations is closely representative of the wider population. However, the picture was described as “patchy” with three quarters of ethnic minority Anglicans clustered in three main dioceses around London. Most worrying was the low representation of people from ethnic minorities among clergy and in positions of responsibility, a fact that was highlighted by Rogers Govender last year when he spoke of how black people are subject to subtle exclusions and often are not encouraged to take leadership roles.
The hierarchy of the Church of England is predominantly male (obviously!) but the grassroots is largely female, with women accounting for nearly two out of every three churchgoers, it is also fairly old, with an average age of “over 61”( how much over?) The average age in the adult population at large, the report told us is “under 48 years.”
Focusing mainly upon race, the report also included a significant analysis of gender, age and country of birth. There was no mention of class nor of sexuality, perhaps reflecting the fact that LGBT clergy and laity remain invisible and unacknowledged and when acknowledged seen as a problem, not a cause for celebration.