A new survey is to be conducted to gather the views of members of the Church of Ireland on ethnic diversity, inclusion and racial justice.
The initiative of the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Rev John McDowell, follows discussions with members and clergy and those serving in lay ministry from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds on the progress made within the Church on drawing on the rich diversity of the island of Ireland.
At the Church of Ireland’s most recent General Synod in September 2021, the Archbishop said: “It was a little troubling to hear about how we had not drawn anything like deeply enough on the rich diversity of backgrounds in our Church. The meeting had also helped me to understand how difficult it can be to be a person of colour on this island and even, at times, in our Church.”
The research being carried out has been designed in collaboration with the group of ethnically diverse clergy and lay readers who have now met on a further occasion, and will, along with other strands, examine and make recommendations on how the Church of Ireland can become truly a place of welcome for those from every ethnic background, both lay and clergy. The research is led by Dr Lucy Michael of the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough.
Archbishop McDowell said: “Already in their discussions the group have also highlighted the positive experience of giving and receiving, but there is much we will need to do if we are to be the place which not only includes, but also celebrates, the God-given difference of the Catholic Church which we stand on our hind legs and proclaim ourselves to be in the words of the ancient Creeds, Sunday by Sunday.”
The Archbishop will publish and share the findings of the research and recommendations ahead of General Synod 2022.
All lay and clerical members of the Church are invited to give their views in this survey, which can be accessed at www.ireland.anglican.org/diversity-survey.