11:00 am 23 November 2021
Bury St Edmunds based thresher Afrika Green, who worked with the Pet Shop Boys and Becky Hill, has become a Lay Canon.
The ceremony at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on Sunday November 21 saw six members of the clergy and eight people from the community become lay, honorary and ecumenical canons.
Afrika, 31, has been installed as a lay canon in the writers’ stand.
Lay Canons are community members who are not clergymen or ordained women, but who hope to be a kind of cathedral think tank as they live and work in the community – which is exactly what Afrika does. .
For the past year and a half Afrika has been an administrator and active member of Bury St Edmunds for Black Lives since its inception and she hopes that she will continue to make a difference within the cathedral.
She said, “For me it’s about representing diversity – I’m black, I’m young – maybe that’s different from the majority of church members.
“I want to be able to challenge them sometimes if I feel like it is necessary. In Church of England schools like King Edward’s and Thurston, I can check out the curriculum and make some suggestions.
“Black history is taught during Black History Month, but there might be a way to incorporate it throughout the year.
“I could also write for the cathedral newsletter, which could be a way to make suggestions and get people thinking,” she added.
Afrika said she felt nervous about her new role at first, but was pleasantly surprised at how diverse the church is.
“I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what the community was like there and I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in.
“I come from a municipal estate in Bury and you look at the cathedral and it’s very lavish and has a strong community, but I was accepted.
“The procession was mainly led by women, which I found really unique. If we have gender balance, let’s see if we can balance it in other ways – age, race, and other orientations.
“If the church reflects the community, more people will come.”