The Revd Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson made history at the 2023 United Reformed Church (URC) General Assembly when she was inducted as its first Black and ethnically-minoritised woman Moderator.
In her first blog, Tessa introduces her Chaplains, Karen Campbell, Secretary for Global & Intercultural Ministries, and the Revd Stephen Ansa-Addo, Minister of Park and Hungerford United Reformed churches:
I am pleased to introduce my Chaplains to you, two people whose sense of community will bring many strengths to speak to the needs of our multi-diverse denomination. Stepping into the role of Moderator, I recognised that having two Chaplains is necessary in these times in which colleagues are increasingly asked to divide their time in creative and sometimes miraculous ways.
Karen works tirelessly to address issues of injustice that impact our communities, and I was intentional about choosing a Chaplain who identifies as a woman of Black/ethnically-minoritised background. In my estimation, the church would benefit from the lived theological and spiritual insights of a woman who possesses a raced body. Karen, I know, will bring the required poetic-prophetic tone of inspirational and positive advocacy to the role.
Karen says: “I love to laugh and I hope I can bring a sense of joyfulness to my role as joint-Chaplain, and the ways in which Stephen and I implement our responsibilities. I will also seek to take every opportunity to celebrate the diversity of peoples and giftings to be found within our Church to bring to the fore some who have been less visible, even while continuing to draw on those who are more familiar.”
I invited Stephen to be my Chaplain due to his excellent capacity for inspiring people of all ages. I am fully cognizant and appreciative of his accommodating way of working inspirationally and embracing diversity in the community, while collaborating across a wide theological spectrum. This is hugely important in the context of a reforming church that is committed to treating people with dignity and respect, inclusive of their varying identities and spiritual needs.
Of his role as joint-Chaplain, Stephen, who is married to Tolu, says: “With the Grace of God, I intend to bring myself, challenge, hope and encouragement! With an additional seasoning of fun and a spirit of honour to those who are seen and those who are unseen!”
Please join me in welcoming them both to what I envisage to be an exciting phase in the life of the URC.