History has been made today after a black woman was unveiled as the new Bishop of Dover.
Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin will become the first black female bishop in the Church of England when she is consecrated in November.
She has served as chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons since 2010 and later also became chaplain to the Queen.
Speaking to children at St Georges C of E School in Broadstairs, Kent, following the announcement she said that she saw herself as ‘pretty ordinary – not necessarily “the black priest” – but a priest with the good fortune to be black’.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed the appointment, saying Jamaican-born Rev Hudson-Wilkin was ‘one of the most influential and effective ministers in the public square’.
He added: ‘I am absolutely delighted that she is willing to be the new Bishop of Dover.’
Rev Hudson-Wilki said she was called to become a priest at 14 after she had an ‘overwhelming sense of feeling called the ministry.’
At the time, woman were barred from even entering the priesthood.
She was raised in Montego Bay, until 1982 when she left Jamaica to train at the Church Army college in the West Midlands.
In her current position, Rev Hudson-Wilkin conducts the daily prayers in the Commons’ chamber, takes part in the Speaker’s procession and provides pastoral care for MPs and staff in the Palace of Westminster.
John Bercow praised the chaplain for her service to the Palace of Westminster, and said she is ‘one of the warmest, kindest and most loving people I have ever met’.
He added: ‘She has an unfailing sense of duty and an ability – more than she would herself ever know – to bring comfort in times of tragedy.
‘Furthermore, her steely resolve when confronted with loss and evil, following the death of our dear colleague Jo Cox, and in the wake of the Westminster Bridge attack, was plain for all to see.’
Rev Hudson-Wilkin added: ‘I have loved every minute of being the Speaker’s Chaplain – I describe it as walking in a slice of history.
‘Mr Speaker has been the most amazing colleague and friend – he has been very supportive, a great encourager and I am particularly saddened to be leaving him and his wonderful team.
‘However, I am equally excited about my new role and the opportunity to work with the Archbishop of Canterbury as the Bishop of Dover.’
Mr Bercow said: ‘Rose is one of the warmest, kindest and most loving people I have ever met, so she will be sorely missed by Members across the House, the staff, and especially by me.
‘She has an unfailing sense of duty and an ability, more than she would herself ever know, to bring comfort in times of tragedy.
‘Furthermore, her steely resolve when confronted with loss and evil, following the death of our dear colleague Jo Cox, and in the wake of the Westminster Bridge attack, was plain for all to see.
‘Both in the celebration of happiness and in condolence and prayer, she has the most reassuring, fortifying presence anyone could want. ‘Personally, I would like to thank Rose for her steadfast support and friendship over the last nine years.
‘Our loss is certainly the Diocese of Canterbury’s gain. She will be an excellent Bishop of Dover, and I will watch keenly the next stage of her spiritual journey.’
By: Kate Buck