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Institutional Racism

Volume 716: debated on Thursday 23 June 2022

9. To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church is taking to tackle institutional racism. (900670)

Parts of the Church of England behaved appallingly in turning away Caribbean worshippers after the war. The Church has paid a heavy price in losing the spirit-filled vitality of those worshippers to spread the good news of Jesus. Work by Lord Boateng and the inspirational Peter Stream, which is drawing ordinands from a wide variety of races and backgrounds, is starting to redress that shameful episode.

The decision to refuse to ordain Calvin Robinson was a missed opportunity, but my hon. Friend is both a fair-minded and God-fearing person. I hope I can rely on him to ask the bishops to pray, reflect and reconsider.

I must say to my right hon. Friend that it would not be appropriate for me to comment specifically on an individual candidate for ordination. The period of initial formation for candidates is part of the discernment process, and not every candidate who starts training finishes it or is judged ready for ordination at the end of it. I am informed that, as with all applications for the ministry, this candidate was considered irrespective of Church tradition, political views or race.