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Vicar is appointed special advisor on BAME issues in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 14:53 09 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:57 09 July 2020

Karlene Kerr, the new bishop's adviser for BAME affairs. Picture: Diocese of Norwich

Karlene Kerr, the new bishop's adviser for BAME affairs. Picture: Diocese of Norwich

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A vicar has been appointed as a special advisor for black, Asian and minority ethnic affairs.

Bishops in the Diocese of Norwich say BAME clergy and trainee priests face “incipient racism nearly every day and sometimes overt racism”.

Rev Karlene Kerr, team vicar at St Faith’s Church at Gaywood, in King’s Lynn, has been appointed to foster a culture where racism is “challenged and called out”.

“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,” she said.

“While 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.”

Rev Kerr came to Lynn from a church in London three years ago. 
Bishop Graham Usher, head of the diocese, 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 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.”


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