PM lauds history-making Jamaica-born female bishop

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has congratulated Jamaican-born priest, the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin on becoming the Church of England’s first black female Bishop of Dover.

Hudson-Wilkin was ordained in a moving ceremony inside a packed St Paul’s Cathedral in London Tuesday morning. She will be installed at Canterbury Cathedral on Nov. 30, 2019.

Many in the audience for the consecration ceremony were Jamaicans with some travelling all the way from Kingston to show their love and support. Jamaican Reverend, Howard Gregory, Archbishop of the West Indies was in attendance. The ceremony was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the principal leader of the Church of England.

Hudson-Wilkin is a former House of Commons chaplain, a position she held for nine years. She was consecrated alongside Olivia Graham, who will become bishop of Reading.

“Beginning this new ministry, there is a sense of awe in it all, but also something refreshing about being open to the new things that God has in store – not just for me as a person taking on this new leadership role, but for our diocese as a whole.

“I’m excited – I’ve got lots of new people to meet, to get to know, and that fills me with joy,” said Hudson-Wilkins in an article in The Guardian newspaper.

Among the Anglican clergy that travelled from Jamaica for the ceremony were the Reverend Canon Calvin McIntyre, Canon Hartley Perrin of St Peter’s in Petersfield, Westmoreland and Canon Sirrano Kitson of the St Andrew Parish Church.

Also in attendance was Canon Annette L Buchanan, a Jamaican, who is the immediate past president of the Union of Black Episcopalians in Washington, DC.

Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Seth George Ramocan, also attended the ordination ceremony.

“We are all extremely proud of Bishop Hudson-Wilkin’s elevation to a higher role, especially since it did not happen by favour but because of her extremely hard work. This is a proud moment not just for Jamaica but for the entire Caribbean region,” said the Archbishop of Canterbury in a statement.

The Archbishop noted that Hudson-Wilkin has been described as a prophet, a pastor and an evangelist.

“She has challenged the Church of England over its engagement with UK minority ethnic groups and she has spoken forcefully and effectively at many evangelistic meetings,” the Archbishop added.

Hudson-Wilkin was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 1961. She attended Montego Bay High School for Girls and later Birmingham University. She trained with the Church Army and was commissioned as an evangelist in 1982.

Hudson-Wilkin was ordained deacon in 1991, a priest in 1994, and served her title at St Matthew’s Church, Willenhall Road, in the Diocese of Lichfield. She served as a priest in Hackney for nearly 17 years. In 2007, the Jamaican was appointed as a chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen, and in 2010, she became the first female appointed to the position of Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

She was thrust into the international media spotlight last year when she led prayers at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.