New book tells history of Britain’s Black Pentecostal church

Author, Roy Francis has written a new book that puts the spotlight on one of the most impactful and enduring legacies of the Windrush Generation: The Black Pentecostal Church.

The book, Windrush and the Black Pentecostal Church in Britain sees Roy chronicle the history and development of the black church here in the UK since the late 1940s up to the present day.

Caribbean people came to Britain with their Christianity says Roy, and most belonged to the established churches in the Caribbean. However, when they attended churches in Britain they were largely ignored, made to feel unwelcome, and some were even told not to come back, due to racism. 

Pentecostals had an altogether different experience. Rather than seeking out churches to worship in, they sought out other Pentecostals and started holding ‘Prayer Meetings’ and later, ‘Sunday Services’ in each others’ homes. 

Part memoir, part historical overview, Roy Francis, had a front seat and experienced the development of the black Pentecostal church first-hand. He is the son of Bishop TG Francis, who came to the UK in the 1950s and founded the First-Born Church of the Living God.

Windrush and the Black Pentecostal Church in Britain: 

  • Gives a picture of how the early arrivals to the UK responded to the religious landscape and racism they experienced
  • Chronicles the development of the black Pentecostal church in the UK
  • Provides insight into the history and pioneers of some key black Pentecostal denominations including the New Testament Church of God, Church of God of Prophecy, Seventh Day Adventists and Church of God in Christ
  • Demonstrates how Britain’s black Caribbean church has been influenced by America
  • Show’s how gospel music helped raise awareness and the profile of the Black Pentecostal church
  • Charts the rise of the African Pentecostal church in Britain

The book also includes accounts of seminal moments in the development of the black church including the opening of Kingsway International Christian Centre in 1998.  Nigerian born pastor, Matthew Ashimolowo changed the game when he opened a 4000 seater church in Hackney, East London, which at the time was the largest church to open in Britain for 100 years. 

Roy also charts the development of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, now the largest black Pentecostal denomination in Britain.

Windrush and the Black Pentecostal Church in Britain also touches on some of the hot topic issues within the black Christian community like should women preach, the large number of female singles and the controversy of tithing versus offering.

Roy, who is a former BBC producer of ‘Songs of Praise, gospel promoter and music agent said:  

“The story of the Windrush Generation and the legacy of the churches they left us needed to be told.  As the son of a Bishop and a musician, I was privy to many of the significant moments in the development of the Black Pentecostal Church in Britain and because of this I’m able to tell the story of a faithful, resilient people, who have built an institution which has played a significant part in raising black aspiration, lifting people out of poverty and highlighting that faith in God can help people overcome many of life’s troubles.”

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