Westminster Abbey to Host 70th Anniversary Service of Windrush

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A special service is being held at Westminster Abbey on 22 June 2018 to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks on 22 June 1948.

A thanksgiving service, ‘Spirit of Windrush – Contributions to Multicultural Britain’, will uniquely reflect on the impact Caribbean people have had on the UK, particularly since the Windrush arrival.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr John Hall, will officiate at the service and will wear the Windrush Cope (a liturgical vestment) that has been specifically created to mark this Windrush 70th anniversary year.

The service will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship (0810-0848) on Sunday, 24th June.

The Revd Canon Joel Edwards will preach and participants will include a 70th Anniversary Windrush Choir, directed by Karen Gibson, and a specially commissioned anthem by composer Shirley Thompson.

Gospel soloist Carla Jane will perform as well as the Shernall Street Methodist Steel Band with dramatic creativity moments designed by young people and directed by award winning young Director Roy Alexander Weise.

The artist Terry Duffy’s acclaimed 14ft by 11ft painting ‘Victim no Resurrection’ will be a symbolic offering during the service. Images reflecting the Windrush era will be projected on screens before and after the service and an exhibition of the iconic ‘grip’ (aka suitcase) will be on show.

Dr Joe Aldred, a child of the Windrush Generation and Chair of the ecumenical Windrush Service Planning Committee said, “This special service gives the nation an opportunity to learn about a major era in Britain’s migration history. By focusing on the three themes of ‘Invitation’, ‘Mixed Welcome’ and ‘Resilience/Overcoming’ it’s our hope that the service will give insights into the complex Windrush journey of challenges and opportunities.”

The service which takes place against the backdrop of the recent ‘Windrush Generation’ citizenship controversy has been planned during the past year and Westminster Abbey will be full.

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