Westminster Deanery meets in Parliament to celebrate diversity
Members of Westminster (St Margaret’s) Deanery Synod recently held a meeting in the Palace of Westminster for a discussion on the theme of the Gift of Diversity.
The meeting was attended by 50 clergy and lay people, and was hosted by the Revd Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and took place in the Speaker’s apartments in the Palace of Westminster.
Synod heard from a number of different speakers, including the Revd Simon Buckley, Rector of St Anne’s, Soho who spoke about the challenges and opportunities of ministry in Soho, and the Revd Lis Goddard, Vicar of St James the Less, Pimlico, who discussed her experiences in ministry in North Oxford and how she witnessed the role played by urban churches in supporting those in more rural areas.
The Speaker’s Chaplain also addressed Synod, and spoke movingly about the need for Anglican churches, particularly those in London, to reflect the diverse and multicultural communities they serve. She highlighted that this was especially important in light of contemporary issues affecting ME communities, such as the Windrush scandal.
David Richards, Deanery Lay Chair said:
“We try to make the meetings of synod as engaging as possible for members who come from the shop window deanery of the Church of England and we were not disappointed by the warmth of welcome from Rose and the quality of discussion.”
The Revd Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin said:
“When it was agreed that I speak on the theme of diversity, at the Westminster Deanery meeting, we had no idea that it would be against the backdrop of the raging Windrush story. I am saddened that as a Church we cannot speak with integrity into this situation because we (the church / our diocese) in the 21st century fail to reflect the kind of diverse leadership that will give us the right to speak.
“This lack of diversity in leadership within the church and society is a failure to see ME people as equally valuable as “ourselves”. This was the mistake of Government ‘not to have given them a thought’ in the process of creating policies. It is also a gross mistake of the church not to think about its ME membership too. For those who are tempted to start reeling off how many times it has been discussed, let me say ‘action speaks louder than words’!”