Dalston ‘clown church’ Vicar fights for rights

The Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin pic: Franka-in-London

The Vicar of Hackney’s “clown church” has outlined her terms for becoming the Church of England’s first female bishop – before she has been offered the promotion.

Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the first black woman ever to be appointed Queen’s Chaplain, put her case forward to a meeting of the Church’s governing body in London this week.

Church conservatives oppose the idea of anything but male bishops, which Hudson-Wilkin deems: “nonsense”. But presently, conservative members of the Church of England are seeking an amendment that will give the church a legal right to ignore the authority of any female bishop, bypass her completely, and elect to be led by a male instead.

Hudson-Wilkin, originally from Jamaica, said these rules were “like apartheid” in an interview with The Telegraph. She said: “It’s not that dissimilar from those who said, ‘OK, we accept that apartheid needs to be abolished but can we just have one bus which is white only, so we can ride in it?”

Demanding equal terms as that of a male bishop, the Dalston Reverend said she was not prepared to serve as a bishop unless changes were made, stating that she would “absolutely” turn the job down.

Hudson-Wilkin was ordained in 1994, the year the first women became priests. She has recently appeared on Women’s Hour on Radio 4 to discuss the possibility of promotion, as several CofE female laity and priests prepare to meet at Church House in Westminster in support of women bishops.

The famous clowns’ church service was held at Holy Trinity Church in Beechwood Road, Dalston, E8 3DY on February 5. More information and photos of the day, at which Hudson-Wilkin plays an integral role, can be seen here.

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