National Service held at Westminster Abbey to mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death

Christian Aid and Westminster Abbey hosted a National Service to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr.  On Wednesday 4 April, a packed out Westminster Abbey heard contributions from Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the chaplain to the Speaker of the Palace of Westminster and Dr David Muir, Senior Lecturer at the University of Roehampton among others. His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent was in attendance as was the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy, Lewis Lukens.

Christian Aid’s Chief Executive, Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, laid a wreath outside the Abbey at the Innocent Victims Memorial, overlooked by a statue of Dr King. She shared a testimony in the service, outlining Christian Aid’s history with Dr King which included helping him with his appointments when he visited the UK.

She said: “Martin Luther King led a movement for justice and continues to inspire many people around the world. He was able to translate his faith into real life actions that resonated with the daily struggles of individuals and the wider community. Struggles for inclusion, for social and economic justice and for the opportunity to live a life of dignity. He believed that all humans are created equal and gave his life for that equality to be a reality for all.”

She added: “I am struck by the shared values and common threads of faith and justice that the work of Dr King has with the work of Christian Aid. Be it when we run a refugee camp for 50,000 Rohingya people in Bangladesh, or work with the peace and justice commission in Colombia or support vulnerable children in Kenya, Christian Aid continues to reach out to people, regardless of colour, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation and economic or social status.”
The music during the service was provided by the Martin Luther King Celebration Choir, comprised of members from choirs across London including IDMC, New Wine, Acquire, London Adventist Choracle and the Kingdom Choir. They were conducted by Karen Gibson and John Fisher. The service was recorded and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship on Sunday April 8th.

The service was titled ‘Redisovering Hope’ and explored the role of faith in seeking justice and bringing about transformation in the world. The sermon was given by the Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Revd Dr Karowei Dorgu. Ahead of the service he said: “As we celebrate fifty years of the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, this is a moment for us to reflect both individually and collectively on our responsibility as humans “to do justice and equity”, and why these are essential to our collective human flourishing in society. We will also be reminding ourselves of the words of Dr King that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

Joe Ware

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