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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
Retirement party for first black bishop
Southwark Cathedral
The party is being held at Southwark Cathedral
A retirement party is being held at Southwark Cathedral on Wednesday for the Church of England's first black bishop.

The Right Reverend Wilfred Wood officially leaves his post on September 30 but a celebration of his long career in the church will be marked at the south London cathedral with many colleagues, past and present.

He has been Bishop of Croydon since 1985 but it was long before then that he became a champion for racial justice.

In 1968 the Wilson government planned to replace the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants with a community relations commssion.

The Rt Rev Wood and his colleagues submitted plans that became known as the "Wood Proposals" calling for some members to be directly elected by minority ethnic associations.

Bishop Wood was born in Barbados in 1936 and was ordained a priest in St Paul's Cathedral in 1962 and served his title at St Stephen's Shepherd's Bush.

The Rt Rev Wilfred Wood
The bishop has worked tirelessly for racial justice

He moved to work in the Diocese of Southwark in 1974 and his ministry has been within the Diocese ever since.

In 1977 he was appointed Rural Dean of East Lewisham and an Honorary Canon of Southwark Cathedral.

He was Archdeacon of Southwark from 1982 until his consecration as Bishop of Croydon in 1985.

He has been honoured for his work in race relations in the UK and was awarded the Knight of St Andrew (Order of Barbados) in 2000. He also preached at the second anniversary of the death of Stephen Lawrence.


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