New Bishop's Adviser for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic affairs
3 July 2020
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, has appointed the Revd Karlene Kerr, Team Vicar at Gaywood in King’s Lynn, to the additional role of Bishop’s Adviser for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Affairs.
This follows a meeting, in the light of Black Lives Matter, that Bishops Graham, Alan and Jonathan held recently with some of the clergy and ordinands in the Diocese of Norwich who are black, Asian or minority ethnic. The bishops wanted to listen attentively to something of the reality of their lives. What struck the bishops above all were the examples of the way black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues face incipient racism nearly every day and sometimes overt racism.
About her appointment, the Revd Karlene Kerr said, “It is with appreciation and anticipation that I accept this offer to become the Bishop’s Adviser for BAME Affairs in the Diocese of Norwich. Whilst there has been some progress over the years with regards to the Church’s relationship and engagement with BAME communities we are all aware that there is still a way to go as recent events have revealed. Much more needs to be done in order for the Church to be a place where ALL peoples, irrespective of their identities feel valued, welcomed and affirmed.
“I believe that the Church, as an institution within our society, has a pivotal role in this. We must work together to make this Church a place where we are deemed equal as brothers and sisters in Christ, made in the image of God. It is only then that we become truly what we were called to be; ‘a light unto the nations’.”
Bishop Graham said, “I welcome Karlene Kerr’s appointment to advise me and the whole diocese about the needs of BAME members of our communities and to help foster a culture in the diocese where the sin of racism and exclusion is challenged and called out. The realisation that here amongst us, in insidious, and often unrecognised ways, our brothers and sisters are being demeaned, ignored and discriminated against is deeply shocking. In leading the Diocese of Norwich, I am clear that it is God’s desire for all of us to flourish and for no-one to be diminished. That is our direction of travel, anything less we will set our faces firmly against.”
The Bishop also commented, “Making one appointment does not change things. The responsibility lies on all of our shoulders to see, and witness to, the image of God in every human being. We need to look hard at ourselves, and our ways of operating in the past and in the present, so that now and in the future, everyone can truly flourish as God intends.”