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Jamaican could be England’s 1st female bishop

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The Church of England is the “mother church” of the global Anglican Communion. Reportedly, its membership comprises approximately 80 million people in more than 165 countries. However, in 2014 Anglican women bishops are still elusive in England.

Already ordained in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, women bishops may conquer the last frontier with consecration in the Church of England. Earlier this week, England’s General Synod voted to allow Anglican women to take the top jobs in the church.

The vote comes after decades of debate on their role and the first women bishops could be named by the end of this year.

One of the most prominent women in the Church of England is Rose Josephine Hudson-Wilkin. She is likely to become an Anglican pioneer and first, female bishop.

Born in Montego Bay in 1961, the immigrant is making history throughout the Anglican community.

She was appointed chaplain to the Queen in 2008 and Speaker of the House of Commons in 2010. She is also priest vicar at Westminster Abbey.

In addition, she is the vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Dalston and All Saints Church, Haggerston -- two churches in ethnically-diverse east London.

A mother of three – two daughters and a son -- her husband, Ken Wilkin is a chaplain at Holloway Prison.

She moved from Jamaica to live in Britain in 1985 and became a vicar in 1994 when female ordinations were approved, she was among the first.

“I simply had this overwhelming sense that this was what I was called to do.”

She was just 14 when she felt a tug towards the clergy.

She described the vote as “seismic.”

“This has been on the agenda of the Church since the 1920s, from the time of the suffragettes when women were saying actually, we’re human beings, we don’t want to be patted on the head and told: ‘There dear, you’ll be alright doing the flowers or making the cups of tea.”

“We have gifts and skills and abilities and we want what we have to be placed on the table as well.”

To consider this religious soul anything other than an advocate of women’s right would be naïve. A trailblazer in the church, she is intent on penetrating the “stained glass ceiling” and pushing past the limit which historically declared 20 years ago that women could be ordained vicars.

Hudson-Wilkin has always maintained that having women as bishops would only make the Church of England “richer.”

“Women make up perhaps just over half the population and I think that it is rather out of date to have a major institution like the Church of England that is still run by an all-male group.”

“It will be a big deal,” she said prior to the victory vote.

The decision marks the end of a divisive struggle in the Church, where opposition from conservative Anglicans led to the rejection of a previous proposal in 2012, prompting an outcry from many clergy, worshippers and lawmakers.

Reputed for quoting reggae legend Bob Marley, she made reference in Parliament to punctuate her advocacy.

Whether or not she would be able to tackle the demanding elevation, Hudson-Wilkin said: “Everybody thinks that, I’m too busy enjoying what I’m doing.”

“It is the Church that calls you to act in that role, not you that puts yourself forward.”

“It is about valuing each other. If I value you, I’m not going to put you into a little box and tell you to stay there.

“I’m going to let you flourish, I’m going to let you achieve and become the best you can be.”

Hudson-Wilkin added that she hoped the vote would encourage Anglican churches in other parts of the world to “ask the question ‘what is right for us?”

“I hope that all the provinces who now do not ordain women as priests or consecrate them as bishops, I hope they will see this as a good thing and for the furtherance of the mission of Christ,” she added.

“There is talk of the feminization of the church, which is so ridiculous because women have always been at the helm,” she said.

“They’re the wheels that make everything happen.”

JAH-JAH JAMAICANS MASQUERADE AT SUMMERFEST

Jah Jah Foundation, an organization whose mantra maintains a mission for patriots and expats to help Jamaicans on the island by improving health conditions there will host their annual fundraiser on July 19.

“Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans at Home” defines their aim to mobilize nationals to the cause. They plan to raise the awareness of patrons who attend their 2014 fundraiser and also collect vitamins they plan to distribute to needy individuals. Patrons are also asked to bring and donate Centrum vitamins for adults and children.

The masquerade-themed fundraising event is slated to be held at Angela For My Sweet, 1103 Fulton Street from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Billed Summerfest in Brooklyn, there is a dress code that requires patrons to wear a masquerade mask to accentuate “summer cute” outfits. The benefit fundraiser will help to improve public health in Jamaica. For more information, call 917-524 -9517.

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