22/12/2012 05:11 GMT | Updated 22/12/2012 05:13 GMT

Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, First Black Female Chaplain To Queen Hits Out Over Women Bishops, Gay Marriage

A chaplain to the Queen tipped as a possible contender to be one of the first women bishops has hit out at the church over women bishops and gay marriage, and has claimed she was a victim of racism within the Church of England.

The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who became the first black female chaplain to the House of Commons, also asked why there were not more people of minority ethnic backgrounds in leadership roles within the Church, which she said was "still struggling with institutional racism".

In an interview with The Times, Hudson-Wilkin, who was born and brought up in Montego Bay, Jamaica, said: "I've had people who did not want me to do a funeral.

"I can smile because it's their sheer ignorance - I feel sorry for them. I know that it's not about me, it's about them.

"We have been encouraging people to stand and people have been putting themselves forward and have not been elected. I think there is a level of racism around that."

Hudson-Wilkin, who is vicar to two inner city parishes in Hackney, east London, said she thought racism was a more pressing issue than that of homosexuality.

She told the paper: "The Church has always been obsessed with sex, I really don't understand it. I have known some decent gay people who are in faithful monogamous relationships and who are hugely committed to each other.

"I'm deeply saddened that parts of the Church continue to be obsessed by this whole business. There are so many more important things."

Hudson-Wilkin was one of a number of prominent female clergy tipped as possible contenders should the Church of England's national assembly give final approval to legislation introducing the first women bishops.

The draft legislation was carried in a vote by the houses of bishops and clergy in the General Synod last month but failed by six votes to gain the necessary two-thirds majority among lay members.