Windrush – Celebrating and Saying Thank You

22nd June 2023

A Service of Thanksgiving will take place in Southwark Cathedral today to mark the 75th anniversary of the docking of the MV Empire Windrush in Tilbury docks which brought more than 500 Caribbean men and women who responded to an invitation to come to a country in recovery from World War II. 

Celebrating and saying thanks to the Windrush generation.

Dionne Gravesande, Chair of the Windrush 75 planning committee, said:

“This momentous occasion brings together diverse communities, faiths, and organisations in a spirit of collaboration and partnership. The service presents a unique opportunity for people of all backgrounds to unite, celebrate the Windrush generation’s profound contributions, and reaffirm our commitment to a shared society where all people can flourish.”

Called, Windrush 75 – Remembering the struggle, celebrating the contribution and flourishing for the future: the service will involve worship, music, reflections, readings and prayers and will touch on the themes of invitation, recognising of struggle following the invitation and the creative, unique and significant contributions made by the citizens and their descendants since then.

The Rt Revd Dr Rosemarie Mallett, Bishop of Croydon, said:

“This anniversary offers a unique moment in the life of our nation when we can honour the legacy of the Windrush generation and hear how younger voices are building on their extraordinary heritage. We will be celebrating their achievements and expressing our deep gratitude – as well as acknowledging the struggles that they have faced.”

Richard Reddie, Director of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, said:

“The Windrush generation’s impact on Britain has been incalculable. They have transformed the spiritual climate on these shores since 1948; they have been a blessing to historic churches that were previously struggling numbers-wise, while Black Pentecostal congregations are bucking the trend of decline in attendance. This is to be celebrated, and God is to be praised!”

St Albans Cathedral marked the 75th Windrush Anniversary with a special Choral Evensong last Sunday with guest preacher Azariah France-Williams, Rector of Ascension Church Hulme and the author of Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism & the Church of England.

Bishop Philip Wright, the Bishop of Belize, also attended the service. The Diocese has a long-standing companion relationship with the Diocese of Belize and the Bishop is currently visiting as part of the trip by the Bishops of the West Indies to England to mark Windrush 75. He will be in London for further national events including the service at Southwark Cathedral on Thursday.