Thursday, 6 June 2013

Nomination for a Diversity Award

Lancaster Vicar nominated for Diversity Award

The Revd Chris Newlands has been nominated for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards

Chris Newlands, a vicar from Lancaster has been nominated for the “Positive Role Model in Religion” category at The National Diversity Awards. The ceremony celebrates some of the excellent and inspiring achievements of positive role models and community organisations from across the UK. The awards aim to recognise nominees in their respective fields of diversity including age, disability, gender, race, faith, religion and sexual orientation.

Chris has been Vicar of Lancaster for the past three years, having moved from Essex in 2010.
Before that he worked in Eastern Europe, where he was founder and first President of “ACCEPT”, Romania’s first Human Rights Organisation. The organisation which he founded campaigned for equal rights for women, ethnic minorities, and most controversially, for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. In 1999 the association was awarded the “Egalité” prize by the European Commission for advances in the rights of the LGBT Community in Romania. After five years of campaigning, it succeeded in decriminalizing homosexuality in Romania. ACCEPT is still the leading LGBT advocacy group in Romania.   

At the invitation of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Chris addressed a meeting in Warsaw where the ambassadors of the 57 nations which make up the OSCE were convened, and spoke passionately in support of a motion to make violence against individuals on the basis of their sexuality a criminal offence. Also for ILGA, Chris organised an international conference in Geneva with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders exploring attitudes to sexuality in those religious communities.  

Since returning to England, Chris has worked within the structures of the Church of England to make the Church a more welcoming place for people who are LGBT. He convened a national group of LGBT clergy, and has participated in many sessions working to increase the awareness of clergy to the needs of LGBT people. As Vicar of Lancaster, he is working to make his church (Lancaster Priory) a “welcoming, inclusive Christian community” where all people are welcomed and affirmed : lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight, rich, poor, young, or old. He continues to work in the wider Church to end all homophobic attitudes from clergy and church leaders, and to offer support and affirmation to all people equally.

The National Diversity Awards 2013 in association with Microsoft will be held at The Queens Hotel, Leeds on September 20th. Britain’s most inspirational people will come together to honour the rich tapestry of our nation, recognising individuals and groups from grass roots communities who have contributed to creating a more diverse and inclusive society.

If you would like to see Chris shortlisted for this award, please nominate Chris on the website:
Or for a nomination form please email:
Big Brother host Brian Dowling and CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell will be hosting this year’s event. The awards have also gained support from a number of celebrities including Stephen Fry, Beverley Knight and Ade Adepitan - and the Likes of Paralympic champion Jody Cundy, and Journalist Amal Fashanu were amongst last year’s attendees.

The largest diversity awards ceremony of its kind has generated great sponsors such as the co-operative Group, Sky, The Open University and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Theresa McHenry, of Microsoft UK, said ‘The National Diversity Awards are a wonderful way to recognise the extraordinary contribution of real people to our communities. It’s a delight to be able to support this fantastic celebration of local heroes.’
Amongst last year’s winners was gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who scooped up The Lifetime Achiever Award; Trade Union activist Zita Holbourne who was awarded the positive role Model for Race and The Anthony Walker foundation, a charity established following the tragic murder of its namesake in a racially motivated attack.
The National Diversity Awards received an astonishing amount of nominations for last year’s event. Paul Sesay, Chief Executive of The National Diversity Awards said, ‘if ever there was a time to celebrate and elevate the truly staggering diversity of talent the UK has to offer – it is now’
‘I know another fantastic spectacle of role models will be delivered and recognised this year’.
Nominations are now open and close July 19th 2013 - so don’t miss out on your chance to get involved!
Shortlisted nominees will be announced shortly after this date.