UK

Church of England is 'deeply institutionally racist' - Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury Image copyright REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
Image caption The comments come after the Most Reverend Justin Welby's visit to Kenya last month

The Church of England is "still deeply institutionally racist", the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said at a meeting of the Church's ruling body, the General Synod, that he was "ashamed" of its history of racism.

Mr Welby's words came as Synod members backed a motion to apologise for racism in the Church of England since the arrival of the Windrush generation.

The body also voted to "stamp out conscious or unconscious" racism.

Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries have been labelled the Windrush generation.

In 2018 the home secretary apologised to Windrush immigrants who wrongly faced deportation - and on Tuesday Mr Welby said the Church had been a "hostile environment" to those people.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Windrush generation began arriving in the UK in 1948

"I am sorry and ashamed," the archbishop said.

"I'm ashamed of our history and I'm ashamed of our failure. There is no doubt when we look at our own Church that we are still deeply institutionally racist.

"I said it to the College of Bishops a couple of years ago and it's [still] true," he said.

The archbishop added the Church's "hostile environment" must become a "hospitable, welcoming one" and called for "radical and decisive" progress to put an end to institutional racism.

Mr Welby said "basic rules" were needed to address issues - such as for ethnic minorities to be represented in panels within the church.

The archbishop made the off-the-cuff remarks following a speech made by Synod member Reverend Andrew Moughtin-Mumby.

Rev Moughtin-Mumby, from Southwark Diocese, had introduced a motion for the Synod to "stamp out" racism with "great effort and urgency", as well as apologising for past incidents.

Members unanimously backed the motion.

More on this story