Bishop Rose and the power of Ubuntu
It was encouraging to see that not only was Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin one of the guest editors for the Christmas/New Year editions of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme but she chose to focus on the huge benefits of practising South African philosophy of Ubuntu.
Jamaican born Hudson-Wilkin was the first black woman to become a Church of England bishop and until 2019 served as Chaplain tom the Speaker for the House of Commons. She is currently the Bishop of Dover.
In a long and impressive career in the church she has seen at first hand how practising Ubuntu - celebrating the inter-connectedness of all human beings, our shared humanity - can make a real difference to society.
Tellingly Ubuntu is central to the daily practise of peace and social justice campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Nobel laureate has championed the practise for many years.
It’s proved a way of understanding differences and striking a meaningful and positive dialogue between people of opposing views. With backing from the Tutu Foundation UK it has even been successful in resolving differences between the Metropolitan police and some inner city gang members.
It’s interesting to note that, commenting on her appointment to the House of Commons in a 2011 interview in The Observer, Bishop Rose said she would like to see more civility among MPs: "That's my secret prayer actually: the world is looking on and I just believe that I would like to see a change there in the way they handle listening to each other and the way they speak to each other.”
She’s right. Ubuntu would make a very big difference.