A group of bishops from the Church in the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) are visiting Dioceses across England this week to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush in the UK from the West Indies.
Led by the Archbishop of the West Indies, The Rt. Rev. Dr Archbishop Howard Gregory, the bishops will participate in the national service on Thursday 22 June at Southwark Cathedral. The service will involve worship, music, reflections, readings and prayers; and will honour the legacy of the Windrush generation.
The Service of Thanksgiving, Remembering the Struggle, Celebrating the Contribution and Flourishing for the Future, will be livestreamed on Thursday, 2pm – 3.30pm, on the Churches Together YouTube channel.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby invited Archbishop Howard and the bishops to join with the Church of England for the 75th anniversary celebrations.
Archbishop Howard visited the Diocese of Oxford this week, spending time with members of the Windrush generation in Berkshire. He also preached at special services of thanksgiving at Christ Church Cathedral and St Georges, Tilehurst; as well as meeting the Diocese of Oxford UK Minority Ethnic Clergy Chapter.
In the Diocese of Manchester, The Rt. Revd. Charles Davidson, Bishop of Guyana (pictured above) preached at Manchester Cathedral for a Windrush service last Sunday. He also joined the Bishop of Manchester, The Rt. Revd. Prof David Walker, on a visit to Trinity Church of England High School and Sixth Form; and met the Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN) to find out more about the organisation’s work to eradicate health disparities for Caribbean & African people.
In the Church of England Birmingham, The Rt Rev Claude Berkley, Bishop of Trinidad and Tobago, made a four-day visit, hosted by Rt Rev Anne Hollinghurst, Bishop of Aston and Acting Bishop of Birmingham.
Among other groups and organisations, he met the Church of England Birmingham Racial Justice Board and visited parishes, as well as attending Birmingham Windrush75 anniversary events and services.
Birmingham Cathedral held a Windrush75 Evensong on Sunday with Bishop Claude invited to preach.
Elsewhere, The Rt. Revd. Leon Golding, Bishop of Montego Bay in Jamaica visited the Diocese of Chichester where he was hosted by the Bishop of Chichester, The Rt. Revd. Dr Martin Warner. Bishop Leon preached at Chichester Cathedral and St Johns Evangelist Church in Brighton on Sunday. He also visited three local schools in the Diocese where he took part in Windrush assemblies; and met with the Bishop of Dover, The Rt. Revd. Rose Hudson-Wilkin.
Also on the South coast, the Bishop of Kingston Jamaica, The Rt. Revd. Garth Minott visited the Diocese of Portsmouth and preached at Portsmouth Cathedral on Sunday. He later met members of the local Caribbean community at St Mary’s, Fratton.
Speaking on the Windrush75 anniversary, the Church of England’s Racial Justice Director, Guy Hewitt said: “It has been a moving experience of the entire Church to have the company of the bishops of the Church in the Province of the West Indies here in England for this key anniversary symbolising the advent of modern, diverse Britian.
"The Windrush generation came willingly to do the jobs that were crucial to building the prosperity of post-War Britain - all the while on low pay and enduring racism and discrimination.
"Despite their Anglican heritage and the huge contribution they were making, many were not welcomed by the Church of England. Thankfully, the presence of the Caribbean bishops reflects the journey of reconciliation.
“As we commemorate the 75th anniversary, we are hopeful that for the focus of the leadership of the Church on racial justice, and the efforts of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice and the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC), among others, underpinned by God’s amazing grace, will allow us to transform unjust structures and give true meaning to the Church’s aims of more fully representing the communities we serve.”