Black trainee vicar told he ‘may feel uncomfortable’ in a mostly white parish

A black trainee vicar was rejected after he applied for the role of curate in a church in the South of England.

Augustine Tanner-Ihm was told via email that the parish ‘was not confident that there was enough of a match between the applicant and the requirements of the position.’

The email went on to say that the demographics of the parish were ‘monochrome white working class’ and that he may feel uncomfortable working there.

Yet another suggestion of the email was that although Rev Tanner-Ihm had obvious gifts, he would be better suited to a curacy where a more experienced priest was based.

Currently studying at Durham University Rev Tanner-Ihm stated that his rejection had caused him ‘deep pain.’ He went on to post his letter of rejection on Twitter commenting that ‘I guess not all Black lives matter.’

As well as receiving a rejection letter from the curacy in the South of England, Rev Tanner-Ihm was also rejected by eight other dioceses.

Rev Tanner-Ilm is an African American gentleman who hails from Chicago, where his parents and grand parents lived during the civil rights movement.

He was under the impression that his race had nothing to do with his ability to become a minister. The Church of England, said Rev Tanner-Ilm, had institutional issues with racism.

Church of England director of ministry Rt Revd. Chris Goldsmith commented that they had taken the allegation about the curacy position very seriously. They are also looking into allegations about any other positions which had been denied to people based on ethnic heritage.

The team researching the allegations questioned Rev Tanner-Ihm about his experience before the diocese in South of England sent him a written apology.

We fully recognize, commented Revd. Goldsmith, that the Church of England has much work still to do before it becomes a place where the leadership represents the diverse heritage of all people in the UK.

Recently another vicar, also from a black and ethnic background, Rev Alwyn Pereira, stated that he had similarly been rejected from seven positions as vicar. These had all taken place in the diocese of Bristol.

Rev Pereira was shocked to discover a letter in his personal file claiming that there were ‘cultural differences’ in the way the congregation of Alwyn preferred to communicate. There were also differences in the way they chose to handle issues of truth and clarity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, stated that after watching a video posted on social media that he had been struck by the events which had taken place during the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

The head of the Church of England commented that it is time for the church to ‘set its house in order on racism.’ It is also time, said the Archbishop, to acknowledge our own historic errors and failings.


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