An Anglican woman priest has been appointed as the new Speaker’s Chaplain in the House of Commons. Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, 49, is currently Vicar of the United Benefice of Holy Trinity with St Philip, Dalston, and All Saints, Haggerston, in east London. She will combine this role with the position of Speaker’s Chaplain and as a Priest Vicar at Westminster Abbey. Her appointment will begin in September following the retirement of the Rev Robert Wright after 12 years in the role.
Rev Hudson-Wilkin was born and grew up in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Commissioned a Church Army Officer in 1982, her theological training took place on the West Midlands Ministerial Training Course at Queens Theological College. She was ordained Deacon in 1991, and Priest in 1994. In 2007 she was appointed a chaplain to the Queen, making her one of only 36 religious leaders who are invited to officiate and preach, on occasions, at the 400-year-old Queen’s Chapel beside St James’ Palace.
She is presently a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and has served as one of the Panel of chairs for the Synod. During her time on the synod she was one of the Church of England’s delegates at the World Council of Churches meeting in Zimbabwe and Porto Allegre. She has served as Chair of the National Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC) and of the Worldwide Committee of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK). She was also a member of the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC).
The Speaker’s Chaplain says the prayers for Parliament in the Chamber each day at the beginning of the day’s business. She will also take the services of Holy Communion celebrated in St Mary Undercroft. The Speaker’s Chaplain is also available to offer spiritual guidance to members and staff of the House.
Commenting on the appointment of Rev Hudson-Wilkin, Speaker Bercow said: “The Rev Robert Wright has served the House of Commons as Speaker’s Chaplain outstandingly for twelve years. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours. In Rose Hudson-Wilkin we have found a superb successor. She is one of the most prominent younger black women priests in the Church of England. She is already a Chaplain to the Queen and I hope her new association with the House means we can build strong links with her parish in Hackney.”
Rev Hudson-Wilkin said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed to this role as Speaker’s Chaplain, which I will find both engaging and challenging. I believe the Church has a prophetic role to play in the public arena and I welcome the opportunity to play my part as a member of the Church in this space. “In starting this exciting ministry, I look forward to meeting my new parishioners (politicians, office workers, cleaners and security staff alike). I have no doubt that dividing my time between the Palace of Westminster and my other parish in Hackney will make for a more interesting and fulfilling ministry.”