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Bishop's Advisor for Racial Justice: Revd Richard Darmody

The Revd Richard Darmody has been appointed as Interim Bishop's Advisor for Racial Justice. 

Although Ely has had a Bishop's Advisor in this area before, there is now a new dimension to the Racial Justice Advisor role. The Archbishop's Anti-Racism Task Force produced the document From Lament to Action which recommends 47 specific actions for different arms of the Church of England. The five priority areas are: participation, governance, training, education and young people. The challenge is to encourage racial diversity and justice in each of these areas and throughout the Church.

One outcome of the report is for each Diocese in the Church of England to appoint a Racial Justice Advisor, who will work with their Diocese but will also liaise with the Archbishop's Commissioner and his team, who are responsible for rolling out the policy nationally. Richard has been invited by the Bishop of Ely to act as an Interim Advisor, and will primarily work to craft a role for a permanent appointment in the future. Working within the oversight of the Mission and Ministry Team, Richard will be involved in the creation of a racial justice team for the Diocese, to situate the racial justice work within an Ely Diocesan Inclusion policy. 

Richard comes to the role as a Retired Priest (hence the "interim" bit). Richard has spent some on his ministry in Northern Ireland and was involved there with reconciliation and community-based work. However, most of his ministry has been in Ely Diocese - first as Curate at St John's, Hills Road, Cambridge, and latterly for 20 years as Rector of the Ramseys and Upwood Team Ministry, during which time Richard was also involved with Fresh Expressions of Church. Richard has served two terms as Rural Dean within the Diocese and was for five years an Additional Diocesan Director of Ordinands. Richard also holds other roles within the diocese, including Assistant Retired Clergy Officer and Priest Vicar at Ely Cathedral.

Richard shared his thoughts about the role with us:

"Being asked to fulfil the racial justice advisor role was a complete surprise but it has inspired me to do research and to reach out in an endeavour to better understand the role. I have always been passionate about racial justice and like so many people who recall the late 1960s, I was inspired by Martin Luther-King and the civil rights movement. Through our son's marriage we are now part of a Carribean family which has brought us great joy and enrichment.

Ideas are not mine to impose, but my aspiration is that together we can act justly and change the culture of the Church so that all races are seen as equally important. This also means having a racially diverse leadership. I also like Desmond Tutu's point which he calls Ubuntu, 'you can only be a person through other persons.' This means recognising that we can only be ourselves when we accept 'the other.' An Ubuntu style of leadership as opposed to a hierarchical model has a great educational appeal for each of the five priority areas set out in From Lament to Action.

Everybody who knows me soon discovers I am a life long Norwich City fan, which has meant I could never take myself too seriously!"

How the Diocese will implement a racial justice policy in line with From Lament to Action is still under discussion. What is clear is that racial justice is a gospel imperative. This makes it an important ingredient for Ely 2025 and for all future mission endeavours, as was the case for the Early Christians of the first century.

Page last updated: Thursday 8th June 2023 3:16 PM
First published on: 8th June 2023
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