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Revd Anesia Cook appointed as Racial Justice Officer

We’re delighted to announce that Revd Anesia Cook has been appointed as the Diocese of Sheffield’s new Racial Justice Officer.

Anesia is currently Vicar of St Peter’s and St Oswald’s in Sheffield and is the Bishop’s Adviser for Global Majority Heritage / UK Minority Ethnic. She will lead on our 3-year project ‘Turning the Map Diverse’.

This project is funded by the Racial Justice Unit and collaborates with various stakeholders including our Resourcing Mission and Ministry Team to achieve project outcomes.

Anesia says:

“This is really exciting. I have prayed a lot about this and it’s come at a time in my ministry where I have been looking into what God has in store for me; what God is calling me to do. I truly believe I can support and encourage the Diocese to fulfil the vision of becoming more diverse and more inclusive.

“I want to help change the map of the Diocese to be more diverse, which is quite an exciting and bold move. We have to address some issues that people are not comfortable with, especially structural racism. The job brings a lot of challenges that we need to be aware of, but it is exciting because this is the Gospel imperative for us.”

As Racial Justice Officer, Anesia’s role will be to promote:

  • Equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging across the widest contexts of the Diocese of Sheffield.
  • Anti-racism, participation and engagement opportunities; in learning and development; employment practices and initiatives; and in leadership relationships centrally and with our local communities.
  • Role modelling professional behaviours and upholding principles and practices of equality of opportunity.

This will take part in three phases over the next three years:

Phase One: Listening and Learning (2024)

Phase Two: Training and Enabling (2025)

Phase Three: Celebration, Confidence and Cultivation (2026)

Through each phase Anesia will engage with other dioceses, build on existing relationships and develop training across Sheffield Diocese. This will enable us to turn our aspirational vision (as agreed at March Diocesan Synod) into a road map with a clear accountability framework to meet objectives within our own diocese that align with the Church of England’s Vision and Strategy (6 Bold Outcomes) and implement selected recommendations in the 2021 report From Lament to Action. Alongside this vision there is scope within the role for Anesia to bring her own ideas and values to the role.

Anesia says it’s on all of us collectively to help in the Diocese of Sheffield’s mission to be a sustainable network of Christ-like, lively and diverse communities in every place:

“I’ll be the enabler but this is not my work alone. If my colleagues in the parish and in the Diocese don’t come alongside me to support this mission, then it will not work. This is not just the job of the Racial Justice Officer; it’s our joint effort as a diocese to be a prophetic voice in our communities and to be serious about tackling racism within our communities.

“Racism happens in all forms and it disfigures the image of God in all of our lives; we’re not immune from it in our churches, even though we might like to think otherwise. We need to be intentional about being more diverse in our congregations and leadership roles. We all have something unique to bring to the table in serving God’s kingdom.

“We have already some churches engaging with the issue of racism in their communities. This is really good, but I would love to see more churches engaging with that. I would love to see more faces in leadership. I remember I was preaching at St Mary’s Bramall Lane once and a little black girl looked at me and was mesmerised, because it was the first time she had seen a black woman preaching. She automatically identified with me being in a leadership position. I hope this project would enable us to create good role models for our younger congregations, so they can relate and see themselves in that position as well.”

You can read more on our vision for Racial Justice here: Racial Justice – The Diocese of Sheffield (