This month saw the first of three residentials for the current cohort of the Wilfred Wood Leadership Programme. The programme, first introduced in 2018, aims to position experienced Black, Asian and minority ethnic clergy for senior roles in the Church of England.

Led by the Diocese of London, this year’s programme gathered a group of 18 clergy from six dioceses (Canterbury, Lichfield, Exeter, Bristol, Southwark and London).

The group stayed at a retreat centre in East London, where they heard from an impressive line-up of speakers including Alan Smith – the First Estates Church Commissioner; the Ven Tricia Hillas – Chaplain to the House of Commons Speaker, Bishop Sarah Mullally (the Bishop of London), Bishop Rosemarie Mallett (the Bishop of Croydon), and Bishop Lusa Nsenga Ngoy (the Bishop of Willesden).

The middle day of the programme was spent at Lambeth Palace, where Archbishop Justin joined for the Eucharist. The group spent time with members of the Community of St Anselm, who are resident at the palace. The community is a one-year experience of monastic life for people aged 20-35.

The Revd Sandra McCalla, Chaplain to the Bishop of London said

“As an alumna of this leadership programme, I can attest to the benefits of having taken part – so much so that I am delighted to be one of the facilitating team this time. I believe this is an important senior leadership development programme that enables GMH/UKME clergy to feel affirmed in their ministries and confident in their future as leaders. We have received encouraging feedback from this year’s cohort, including ‘my first residential was last week, and it was fantastic, really inspiring and I think transformational.”

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, said:

“What an inspiration it has been to witness so many talented and committed GMH/UKME clergy leaders of the future participate in this leadership programme. It’s even more exciting to know that their presence will help to transform the leadership of the National Church to one in which the talents and giftings of all can be recognised and transcend barriers to serve our racially diverse communities. As we celebrate their success, we hope to inspire others who themselves can be true to the legacy and intention of the programme and are keen to play their part.”