London – The Church of England consecrated its first black female bishop on Tuesday in a ceremony at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.
Jamaican born Rose Hudson Wilkin, 58, the new Bishop of Dover, recently left her post as chaplain to the speaker of the British Parliament’s elected main house, the Commons, after nine years.
“Rose has not just done the job, she has excelled beyond anything that we could reasonably have imagined or contemplated, former Commons speaker John Bercow said of Hudson Wilkin, on his final day as speaker on Oct 31.
“It is that authenticity about her that impresses everybody who hears or meets her,’’ Bercow said.
A formal ceremony to install Hudson-Wilkin as the Bishop of Dover, in the diocese of Canterbury, is scheduled to be held at Canterbury Cathedral on Nov 30.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Church of England’s most senior cleric, said she had been one of the most influential and effective ministers in the public square in her parliamentary role.
“She has challenged the Church of England over its engagement with UK minority ethnic groups, and has spoken forcefully and effectively at many evangelistic meetings,’’ Welby said.
Hudson-Wilkin and her husband, a prison chaplain, have three adult children, according to an official biography.
Educated in Montego Bay, Jamaica, she attended Birmingham University in England and trained with the Church Army.
She served as a priest in East London’s Hackney area for 16 years and was made a royal chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II in 2007.