Windrush 75 – From Jamaica to Britain

News Story

                                                                                          For Immediate Release

Commemoration of the inaugural voyage of the HMT Empire Windrush which began with a Service at the Kingston Parish Church on May 24 – the date on which the vessel sailed from Kingston in 1948, culminates with a National Service of Thanksgiving on Thursday, June 22 at Southwark Cathedral, London, starting at 8.00 am (Jamaica time.) The Service will be live-streamed at:

The Archbishop of the West Indies, The Most Rev. Howard Gregory; and the Suffragan Bishops of Montego Bay and Kingston, The Rt. Rev. Leon Golding and the Rt. Rev. Garth Minott, as well as other Bishops from the Church in the Province of the West Indies (Anglican), will join church leaders from the Caribbean and the United Kingdom at the inter-denominational Service. Key community leaders and politicians, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator The Hon. Kamina Johnson-Smith, are also expected to attend.

The Service, which is being organised by the Racial Justice Unit of the Church of England, coincides with the date on which the Empire Windrush docked in Tilbury, Essex, 75 years ago, with some 500 passengers who responded to the call to help rebuild the United Kingdom – “the mother country” – following the Second World War. The arrival of the vessel marked the beginning of significant migration from the Caribbean. Many people of this generation worked in such sectors as transport, the National Health Service, manufacturing, and industrial services, in the face of significant discrimination. And up to 2018, despite their many years in Britain, many of them and their descendants faced the possibility of deportation to the Caribbean, as they were not recognized as citizens.

 The Commemorative Service under the theme: “Windrush 75 – Remembering the Struggle, celebrating the Contribution and Flourishing for the Future,” will celebrate the significant role of the Windrush Generation in shaping the cultural landscape of Britain.

Dionne Gravesande, Chair of the Windrush 75 planning committee, said: “This momentous occasion brings together diverse communities, faiths, and organizations
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.”

The Jamaican-born Bishop of Dover, the Rt. Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who is the first black woman Bishop in the Church of England, is quoted as saying that the Windrush  Generation “brought a determination, courage, and resilience in the face of rejection, and they continue to make a difference in the life of the Church of England.”

The first head of the Church of England’s Racial Justice Unit, The Rev. Guy Hewitt, who also has Caribbean heritage, has expressed optimism about the Church’s commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. It cannot now, for us, be “business as usual,” he asserted as he took office in November 2022.

In his Sermon at the launch of the Anniversary Celebrations in Kingston, Archbishop Howard Gregory noted that: “There still remains the unfinished task of restorative justice through an acknowledgment of the discrimination and violation which have taken place, and a movement toward the recognition of the dignity, contribution, and respect due to each person in relation to the law, rights of citizenship and as a child of God.  It is through such a process that healing and reconciliation can take place in a relationship which is still in a state of brokenness.”

Thursday’s National Service in London is one of several events being held across the country on what has been dubbed Windrush Day. The Windrush flag will be mounted at more than 200 locations across England and Wales, including the Houses of Parliament and the Home Office; and day-long celebrations will be held at the Port of Tilbury.

Contact:  Communication Officer, Diocese of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands
2 Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5; Tel: 876-926-8925;
Date: June 20, 2023  

Archbishop Howard Gregory has a warm greeting for Pauline and Lloyd Bryan, members of the Windrush Generation, who traveled to England in 1954, and who joined the congregation at the 75th Anniversary Service at the Kingston Parish Church on May 24.