From the early writings of St Paul and St Luke ( author of Acts) we can see an ongoing conflict in the early Church between people who saw themselves as the privileged “insiders” and the Loving Inclusive drive of Jesus and His Gospel to share Love and Goodness with all God’s children. Indeed Jesus taught His disciples to share the love with all creation, plant life, animals, etc. All creation. What a magnificent broad and inclusive Gospel we have to share. Sadly, on this Sunday the issues of Exclusion for people of different race and colour loom large across our cities.
Windrush Day Observance was introduced, mainly by the Churches in the UK in 2018. It was on 22 June (1948) that several hundred people arrived from the Caribbean on board the HMS Empire Windrush to start a new life in Britain. Caribbean people who had served in the British armed forces were encouraged to come to Britain to work. More people followed. It is estimated that around 500,000 people living in the UK are part of the Windrush generation. Windrush Day celebrates these arrivals and seeks to honour the diverse contributions the Caribbean community has made to British society. This is a particularly noticeable today in modern pop music and in a vibrant movement of Gospel Choirs making worship fresh and lively.
Like many migrant stories, those who arrived were full of hope. Over time, many faced racism and discrimination. Children were picked on at school and jobs were difficult to obtain. Hence Windrush Day can be broadened to include reflection on forms of exclusion, including insensitive rejection of LBGT people, women in promoted posts, which some Church congregations have been guilty of. What would Jesus think?
This Sunday, we are invited to reflect on what it means to be a hospitable community, welcoming and loving all God’s people and celebrating our glorious technicolour diversity with each other and with the whole of creation, as Jesus taught.
If you have felt excluded in any way, even just given a frosty greeting in a Church, then please feel free to share this with your Minister or Elder.
Rev D Prentice MINISTER