Teahouse group of Chinese heritage clergy launches


A national network of Church of England clergy of Chinese heritage that grew out of a Whatsapp support group during the pandemic is being formally launched.
Members of the teahouse group

The Teahouse, made up of clergy and ordinands from across the country, are meeting in person for the first time at a Eucharist service in Southwark Cathedral and later in Chinatown in London as well as attending Evensong at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
The group was founded by Revd Mark Nam, a curate at St Anne’s church in Oldland and United Church in Longwell Green, Bristol, who is also the Diocese of Bristol’s Minority Ethnic Vocations Champion.
Revd Mark said the launch marked a ‘significant’ moment in the life of the Church.
People of Chinese heritage make up 0.2% of stipendiary clergy in the Church of England, according to the latest statistics.
“The aim of The Teahouse is to support and empower clergy with Chinese-heritage in the Church of England by promoting their presence in all structures of the Church, creating connections and providing information and resources,” he said.
“I hope that in the years to come, the Teahouse will have a real impact on the life of the church and the wider community in helping to reflect the diversity in our country.”

Members of the Teahouse Group during a service at St Martin's

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see the formal launch of the Teahouse group. What a wonderful development in our journey towards becoming a church that truly reflects and values the great diversity of life in modern Britain. Seeing groups like this come forward fills me with hope.”
The Dean of Manchester, Rogers Govender, who is Chair of the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, a Committee of the Archbishops’ Council, welcomed the launch of the Teahouse.
“We are deeply encouraged by the launch of the Teahouse network. We thank God for the hope that these clergy represent for the Church of England, in our efforts to truly welcome and value the great gifts we are brought by those from minority ethnic heritage, both in our clergy and congregations and in our wider community.
“Finding ways to support networks and communities of Chinese-heritage and East Asian clergy and laity has been identified as one of our key CMEAC objectives. We hope to work closely with Teahouse among other partner networks, to fulfil this commitment.”

Members of the Teahouse Group following a service at St Martin's