The Church of England has appointed a Nigerian national, Woyin Karowei Dorgu, as the 13th bishop of Woolwich, the Guardian UK has reported.

Mr. Dorgu will be consecrated at Southwark Cathedral on March 17, 2017. This will mark the first time the Church of England has appointed a black man as bishop in 20 years.

Born and raised in Nigeria, Mr. Dorgu was trained as a medical doctor in Lagos before being ordained in the UK. He has since served as a minister in various London parishes.

Mr. Dorgu said he hopes to embrace the diversity of Woolwich, which hosts a significant Nigerian expatriate community, and to encourage more ethnic minorities to participate in the ministry, which is predominantly white. The Guardian UK reported that last year, out of the 15 percent of the general population engaged in the process of becoming ordained, ethnic minorities represented only 1.9 percent. Only one other bishop in the Church of England, John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, is black.

“Quite a lot of Nigerian Christians [in the Woolwich area] are from an Anglican background,” Mr. Dorgu told The Guardian UK.

“I hope my appointment will be a model. Seeing someone from a similar background could be a catalyst for dialogue between the Church of England and black majority churches and Nigerians looking for a spiritual home.”

Woyin Karowei Dorgu, soon to be bishop of Woolwich

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