Archive for May, 2018

May letter

The Windrush Experience
Dear Everyone.
My First Appointment as a Minister was in Coventry when large numbers of immigrants were coming to this country from the West Indies via Empire Windrush.
They came full of enthusiasm, inspired strangely enough by posters in the West Indies with Enoch Powell’s face on it encouraging them as citizens of the Commonwealth to help us in this country in our time of need.
It was an opportunity that many of them keenly seized. They came full of excitement. Some of them brought their guitars with them and they would gladly strike up a calypso tune to entertain others anywhere.
They took on many menial jobs. Provision had not been made for housing them. Rachman-ism exploited them terribly, and in looking around for accommodation they found notices saying ‘no Blacks, Irish or dog owners’. Exploiters of all kinds even some from amongst their own islanders had a field day. In our local churches we set up a ‘West Indian welfare Association’.
Unfortunately, there were churches who failed miserably in looking after their new worshippers who came from very different cultural situations, and many new kinds of churches arose as the result of situations of neglect. However many did support their traditional churches in spite of the insularity in some instances that they had to face.
In my last appointment in St Albans I had the privilege of ministering to quite large numbers of West Indian friends again, of spending a sabbatical in St.Vincent and St. Kitts; and over most of the years of my ministry , baptising, marrying, conducting funeral services, receiving many into the membership of our churches and ministering to their spiritual needs.
How much we valued, and I still value the friendship of Afro-Caribbean friends, incomers from African countries, other parts of the world, and also people from many other parts of the British Isles as well.
My prayer just now is that all things that bring about social cohesion should be encouraged, the dignity of all people’s respected, and no one treated shabbily. The thoughts and aspirations of John Wesley also come to my mind. He considered that ‘The Whole World was His Parish.’
With all good wishes,

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