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04 June 2018

Westminster Abbey to host Windrush 70th anniversary celebration

Westminster Abbey to host Windrush 70th anniversary celebration

Caribbean communities' contribution to the United Kingdom will be commemorated at Westminster Abbey on 22 June, exactly 70 years after the first groups of post-war West Indian migrants came to the UK.

'Spirit of Windrush – Contributions to Multicultural Britain' is the title given to the special thanksgiving service, where attendees will reflect on how Caribbean people have enhanced Britain's culture, particularly since Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in 1948.

Participants of the service, which will be officiated by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, will include the Rev Canon Joel Edwards, former general director of the Evangelical Alliance, who will preach. 

Musical performances will come from the 70th Anniversary Windrush Choir, directed by Karen Gibson, composer Shirley Thompson, who'll execute a specially commissioned anthem, gospel soloist Carla Jane, and the Shernall Street Methodist Steel Band. 

These pieces will be accompanied by dramatic creativity moments designed by young people and directed by award-winning director Roy Alexander Weise, as well as a range of arresting images and an acclaimed work of art by Terry Duffy, 'Victim no Resurrection'. 

Dr Joe Aldred, a child of the Windrush generation and chair of the ecumenical Windrush Service Planning Committee, commented, "This special service gives the UK 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 will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Sunday Worship on Sunday, 24 June. Separately, to mark the 70th anniversary, the July-August edition of the Evangelical Alliance's idea magazine will feature an interview with Dr R. David Muir, senior lecturer in Public Theology and Ministerial Theology at the University of Roehampton. Stay tuned to find out more.