Force for change

Kent Life|July 2020

Force for change
The Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin, MBE, on her pioneering career, the power of faith and why we should care for one another now more than ever
Sarah Sturt

Rose Hudson-Wilkin got the call to ministry at the tender age of 14 and has continued on her God-led path ever since.

“I call myself a cradle Anglican because I was baptised into the Anglican church at three months and I’ve never been away from the Church. In my teenage years I clung to it more and more because I felt that this was where my hope was; there is a God who loves me and wow, I need to know more about this God. There was a hunger in me to explore more and to get closer to Him.”

It was that hunger that brought her to the UK at 18. “I felt that God was calling me to something that did not yet exist,” she tells me. “Back then there were no women priests, but what did exist was the Church Army, so I trained in lay evangelistic ministry. All our church army evangelists in Jamaica had trained in the UK, so that’s why I came here.”

The reality was a bit of a shock. “It was certainly not what I was expecting! It was cold, physically, and to a large extent people were also cold because they didn’t ‘do’ emotion – Jamaicans are very tactile, we like to talk and touch.”

However, it wasn’t all bad – Rose met her husband, a Geordie, at college and he followed her out to Jamaica, where they we got married. Eventually Ken wanted to come back to the UK, so they returned and have been here more than 30 years now. They have two daughters and a son.

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July 2020