Advocacy Programme Officer
The Anglican Minority Ethnic Network (AMEN) is establishing an Advocacy Programme to provide advocacy and pastoral care to minority ethnic members of the Church of England and is appointing two staff members to support moving From Lament to Action!
The purpose of this role is to provide an advocacy and pastoral care service for individuals experiencing racial injustice within the Church of England, contactable via a racial justice helpline and email address.
We are looking for someone who will:
- Understand the systemic racial injustice within the Church of England
- Listen to people to identify issues of racial injustice and the help each needs
- Develop plans with individuals for advocacy and pastoral care
- Influence senior leaders in the Church to bring about racial justice
- Work with police occasionally
- Communicate with AMEN Executive Committee members regularly
Applicants must be practising Christians who support the faith context of the Church of England and will complete a full DBS disclosure.
For further information, please see the details below and the attached information pack. For informal enquiries, please contact Revd Dr Godfrey Kesari on 01403 730229.
- Providing a first point of contact for individuals by phone and email: listening to individuals to identify the issues of racial injustice they are experiencing, and what help each person needs.
- Triaging requests for support: assessing needs to prioritise urgent issues and determining how to resource the advocacy and pastoral care needed in consultation with your line manager, either through the AMEN network and/or by signposting to another organisation / service provider. Urgent issues may include reporting racial abuse or harassment to the police. Pastoral care needs may include signposting anyone requiring counselling to a service provider independent of TEIs, dioceses, and NCIs (one may be commissioned by the Racial Justice Unit).
- Agreeing a plan with individuals that covers the advocacy and pastoral care needed to address the issues of racial injustice they are experiencing and the pastoral support they need for themselves and their family.
- Ensuring that pastoral care and advocacy is provided for individuals according to plans agreed with them, and that relevant senior church / institution leaders are engaged to educate, support and empower them in bringing about racial justice.
- Developing an escalation procedure for use when church leaders are unresponsive to advocacy on behalf of victims of racial injustice. This is to be developed in conjunction with the Directors of the Church of England for Racial Justice, National Ministry Development, and Safeguarding. This could potentially include reporting and working with police.
- Reviewing outcomes with individuals to help them obtain closure, provide feedback on what went well and what could be improved.
- Recording all contacts accurately on the contact database, along with plans, outcomes, and feedback from the individuals who sought support.
- Develop anonymised summaries of the work of the advocacy service, both for accountability and for visibility of the injustices being experienced and how they are being addressed, and how Dioceses, TEIs, and NCIs engage with issues raised.
- Attend AMEN ExCo meetings on invitation to present outcome monitoring reports on the programme.
- Facilitate formal quarterly reviews to enable AMEN ExCo to assess progress and determine how to maximise the programme’s impact, involving other relevant stakeholders such as the Racial Justice Unit where appropriate.
- Prepare annual impact assessments for publication to relevant stakeholders and media after sign-off by AMEN ExCo.
- Identify and grow relationships with others advocating for individuals on issues of racial injustice in member churches of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.
- Promote the safeguarding of adults and children by developing a safeguarding policy for AMEN in consultation with thirtyone:eight for approval by AMEN ExCo, providing full DBS disclosure and completing the required training.
- Ensuring their own spiritual and personal development continues, including undertaking an annual retreat and training as may be advisable for the role.
The Ideal Candidate
- Understanding and knowledge of the systemic racial injustice affecting lay and ordained members within the Church of England.
- Up to date knowledge of issues around equal opportunities, data protection, health & safety, and safeguarding.
- Ability to research, analyse and evaluate information.
- Ability to document information in a clear and precise manner and in compliance with data protection and confidentiality requirements.
- Ability to organise one’s own workload, plan and set goals.
- Excellent interpersonal skills including communication, influencing and negotiation.
- Openness to support and feedback.
- Ability to use home office and online meeting software.
- Ministry experience in lay or ordained roles in multicultural communities.
- Listening to others in a pastoral context.
- Practising Christian who supports the faith context of the Church of England – this is an occupational requirement under the Equality Act 2010 due to postholder sharing the Christian faith through advocacy
- Passion and commitment for racial unity and justice in the Kingdom of God
- Work on self-initiative when required
- Undergraduate qualification in theology, ministry, and mission
- Committed to own continuous development
- Normal working week
- Some evenings and weekends
- Ability to work from home
- Awareness of the structures of the Church of England.
- Awareness of the Church of England’s complicitness in racial injustice.
- Awareness of the Church of England’s journey From Lament to Action.
- Collaborating on issues of racial justice with other churches and organisations.
- Demonstrated ability to establish effective working relationships with stakeholders.
- Ability to use contact or case management systems.
- Advocating for others.
- Communicant member of the Church of England
- Masters degree in theology, ministry, and mission or other relevant subject
AMEN is an independent group promoting the presence and participation of Minority Ethnic Anglicans in all structures of the Church of England in the service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. AMEN was formalised in January 2016 and has proven its ability to advocate within the church for greater racial justice and equality to be a priority. We want to see culture change in the Church of England. No other body outside the Church structure is able to be a critical friend. When the Church gets things right, we will offer vocal support, but we will push the Church of England to go further and faster to bring about racial justice in order that there is a positive cultural change in relation to racism.
The AMEN Advocacy Programme will provide advocacy and pastoral care to minority ethnic members of the Church of England through leveraging the capability of AMEN “to build relationships, represent issues, respond, and create frameworks for reforming the Church”. Advocacy is a core gift of AMEN to the Church.
AMEN’s areas of strategic priority are:
- Relationships through networking, links, socials, and retreats
- Representing through national seats/roles, advocacy/support, diocesan roles
- Resourcing through informing, training, education, mentoring, advisory hub, think tanks, statements
- Reforming through being a prophetic voice and having seats ‘at the table’
The AMEN ExCo is mindful that moving the level of commitment to racial justice in the whole Church of England "From Lament To Action" requires culture change on a comparable scale to that which the Church is still facing with respect to safeguarding.
"If it Wasn’t for God" demonstrated that for GMH clergy it’s clear that wellbeing is an issue of racial justice, but GMH clergy are getting on with it. Issues begin earlier than ordination - in vocation discernment, selection, and theological education when ordinands feel that they’ve been put into a system and are disorientated. Spiritual harm is caused by the focus on British culture and the lack of care for GMH ordinands. Good practice is ad-hoc: curacies are Russian roulette. Clergy who need diocesan support to sponsor residency in the UK are vulnerable and therefore have to conform to diocesan culture and “behave”.
National Ministry Development statistics show that 95% of GMH people going through discernment were not born in the UK, and there is no pipeline of GMH candidates born in the UK. The recent Living Ministry research shows the degree of trauma is worse amongst UK-born GMH clergy than those not born in the UK.
Our assessment is that the “system” is currently too broke for a strategy of encouraging vocations with UK-born GMH members to provide consistently safe environments for development, and that the reconciliation needed between those impacted and the Church must start with truth telling.
Therefore, the shape of this Advocacy Programme builds on AMEN’s core strength in relationships and recognises that it is through broadening relationships that AMEN can be even more effective in representing minority ethnic Anglicans through advocacy/support, which will contribute to informal resourcing of the Church’s journey From Lament To Action as we exercise our reforming voice.