End the sin of racism, online service hears ahead of Windrush Day
The Church of England’s online weekly service will hear a call for action to build a fairer world ahead of a minute’s silence to lament the racism experienced by the Windrush generation and other black and minority ethnic people.
Father Andrew Moughtin-Mumby, Rector of St Peter’s Church in Walworth, south east London, will lead the service in which his sermon will describe racism as one of three pandemics faced by the world, alongside the climate crisis and COVID-19.
In the sermon, he will say that racism experienced by people from the Windrush generation in parish churches in the years after they first arrived in Britain is a ‘stain on the soul’ of the Church of England.
“There is still racism in the Church today, and it is a very serious disease and a sin which I believe each one of us is called to work hard and work urgently to end,” he will say.
He will add that the lament over the ‘awful’ Windrush scandal – depicted vividly in the recent BBC One drama, Sitting in Limbo, should lead to action.
“Our lament and sadness friends, should make us want to make a difference; to build a better, fairer Church and world,” he will say.
It is being broadcast ahead of Monday’s Windrush Day, marking the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of The Empire Windrush at the Tilbury Docks in east London.
The former troop carrier was carrying Jamaican and other British Commonwealth citizens from the West Indies to help rebuild Britain after the Second World War.
In the service, Father Andrew, who was born in Jamaica, will wear the ‘Windrush Cope’ - a robe, or vestment used by clergy at special services or occasions - created by artist Terry Duffy. The cope was worn for the first time at the 70th Windrush anniversary service in Westminster Abbey.
The vestment features a photo montage illustrating aspects of black history in Britain since the arrival of the Empire Windrush, including an image of Sam King MBE, one of the ship’s passengers, who later became the first black Mayor of Southwark.
It also features the image of Jamaican-born Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who will give the final blessing in the online service.
The cross on the cope is a reminder that Jesus is especially close to us when we suffer, Father Andrew will say. When we hurt people through racism or discrimination ‘we hurt Jesus too’, he will add.
The online service will also feature pictures from a photo essay from Windrush: Portrait of a Generation by Jim Grover, first exhibited on the Southbank in London in 2018 to mark the Windrush 70th anniversary.
The service, with a number of contributors, is being broadcast on Father’s Day. It will end with a special prayer recorded by Christians across the country, reflecting on how the day will be marked very differently for many this year.
On Monday 22 June at 11am (Windrush Day) bishops, clergy, cathedrals and parishes across the Church of England are encouraged to keep a two-minute silence to lament the suffering of the Windrush Generation and wider issues of racism in society. A minute’s silence will be observed during the online service on Sunday.