Saturday, 26 June 2010

Black female Hackney vicar at centre of political/religious controversy

The Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph report that Rose Hudson-Wilkin, vicar of Haggerston and Dalston since 1998, has been selected as the next Chaplain to the House of Commons. But has she also become a pawn in a battle between church and state?

Her appointment was not out of the blue, she was on a shortlist and had been the Queen's Chaplain.

But her new job had previously combined the roles of commons chaplain and Sub-Dean of Westminster Abbey. However a rift between the Speaker of the House, who chooses the commons chaplain, and the Dean of Westminster Abbey, who chooses the sub-dean, means the two roles are split.

According to the Mail, the problem was caused by the Speaker of the House of Commons refusing to accept the choice of the Dean of Westminster Abbey: "Commons Speaker John Bercow has refused to give the job to the candidate picked by the Dean of Westminster Abbey, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, who answers to the Queen.

But, according to the Telegraph, it was the other way around. The problem was caused by the Dean of Westminster refusing to accept the choice of Mr Bercow: "Mr Bercow's historic appointment was threatened by the Very Rev John Hall, the Dean of Westminster Abbey, who was strongly opposed to such a move."

Either way, it looks like another prominent Hackney figure will be distracted from the borough as it faces what could be its toughest period in decades. (Meg Hillier will be seeking a place in the shadow cabinet while Diane Abbott seeks to lead the Labour Party)

According to the Mail, Hudson-Wilkin "intends to retain her parish in Hackney" but one of her tasks will be "to read the prayers at the start of each day’s sitting" in Westminster.

A bit of background on Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin:

The Mail describes her as: "Outspoken Mrs Hudson-Wilkin, 49 – who is married with three children – has already been tipped to be the first woman bishop. A controversial figure, she led calls for the Church of England to apologise for its role in slavery and has lambasted racism in the clergy. A friend said her views were ‘radical, Left of centre’."

Here's an interesting interview with the Times from 2008: “Some members struggled with me. They had been told that no priest worth anything would want to come to Haggerston. On top of that I’m a woman and black.... What you really want is a white male priest. But I will not be ignored in my own church.”

and On whether it is right to beat children (film reviewed by Operation Black Vote): "Hackney vicar Rev’d Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who says that parents beat their children “out of love...

“I don’t believe that children have any rights not to be smacked, carte blanche. I’ve always said to my children that the only rights that they have is to go to school, to get an education, to be respectful in the home, and respectful to their teachers. That’s the only rights I’m interested in. Everything else? Non negotiable.

“What I see in Britain is people not having a line that says child/adult. So right now we’re telling our 16 year old that they are adults, and they’re not. We’re leaving our kids to grow themselves, and that doesn’t happen in the Caribbean. In the Caribbean, we grow them.”

1 comment:

  1. "We’re leaving our kids to grow themselves, and that doesn’t happen in the Caribbean. In the Caribbean, we grow them.”

    She said.

    And look at the result!