Britain’s Black community is filled with numerous Christian women who are making a positive difference in the Church and wider society. Some are doing so through their ministry and community activities, others through their professional endeavours, and others again are touching lives and inspiring many through their creative talents. All these women are seeking to fulfil God’s purpose and be a blessing at the same time. Keep The Faith has turned a spotlight on some of these women. Have a read and be inspired.
PASTOR YEMISI ASHIMOLOWO
Resident Pastor, Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC)
Pastor Yemisi Ashimolowo is responsible for the spiritual leadership of thousands through her role as Resident Pastor of KICC, President of KICC’s Winning Women ministry and host of the Winning Women Convention, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last November. She also supports her husband, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, who has planted over 30 churches in the UK; 20 churches in Nigeria, with branches in Ghana, Kenya, Canada, Congo, South Africa, Togo, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Malawi.
An in-demand speaker, Pastor Yemisi has spoken at events in the UK, Europe, USA and Africa. She is also a philanthropist. Her endeavours include supporting orphans; building a home for children in Uganda; and providing sewing machines to women in Sri Lanka.
Visit www.kicc.org.uk for more details
Founder and CEO, The Hebe Foundation
Amie has over 30 years’ experience working with young people and founded The Hebe Foundation in 2007. This Christian youth charity runs a range of initiatives which empower young people to recognise and use their talents and gifts. Projects run by the charity include Britain’s Next Role Model, The Junior Apprentice and Urban Debaters. Amie is also an actor, writer and worship leader. She has received a number of awards, including the Wise Woman in Leadership Award and the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award. She also serves on a number of Trustee boards.
Visit www.thehebefoundation.org.uk for more details
Head of Family & Systemic Therapy — Orri, Specialist Day Treatment Centre for Eating Disorders
Karen is a counselling and therapeutic specialist; a trustee of the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice; and Board Director of Hope Bereavement Support, which provides therapy for Black and minority ethnic clients experiencing bereavement, child loss and trauma. Karen is also a visiting lecturer at Oxford University in the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology Programme, and delivers groundbreaking international community interventions across generations in Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. She co-edited The International Handbook of Black Community Mental Health, published in 2020, and is co-editor of Therapy in Colour: Intersectional, Anti-Racist and Intercultural Approaches by Therapists of Colour, scheduled for release in April 2023.
Connect with Karen on LinkedIn
LURINE CATO MBE
Gospel Singer, Vocal Trainer
Lurine Cato is one of Britain’s most well-known female gospel singers. She is a multi award-winning artist, whose accolades include a Wise Woman Award (2012), MOBO Award (2013) and an MBE (2020). Lurine has released several albums and is an in-demand artist who has performed in front of royalty. She was a lead vocalist of the B Positive Choir, set up by the NHS to encourage people to give blood, which reached the finals of Britain’s Got Talent. Aside from performing on stages throughout the world, Lurine is involved in both charitable and community work, such as working with the Children’s Society, and she regularly shares her gift of song via prison ministry.
Visit https://lurinecatomusic.com/ for more details
DR DULCIE DIXON-McKENZIE
Director, Centre for Black Theology, Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education
For many years, Dr Dulcie Dixon McKenzie has been well-known in the Christian community for presenting a gospel show on BBC Leicester. She is now busy promoting theological education for church leaders, lay ministers and activists in her current role as the Director of the Centre for Black Theology at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education. Dulcie has a PhD for her research on the history of Black British gospel music and is looking forward to the publication of Reclaiming the African Caribbean Roots and Route of Black British Gospel Music. Dulciehas also co-edited a collective of studies in Black British gospel music alongside Dr Monique Ingalls and Dr Pauline Muir.
Visit www.queens.ac.uk/our-centres/bml for more details
DOROTHY DWYER AND PASTOR SHARON TOWNSEND
Founders, Living Loss
These two Christian women started Living Loss CIC 12 years ago to support people dealing with bereavement and loss, such as redundancy, ill health, loss of relationship and more.
Sharon and Dorothy have now developed a range of services, which include bereavement support groups, grief coaching and 1-2-1 counselling, and speak publicly at events across London about grief and loss.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the issue of loss to the fore. In response to this, Sharon and Dorothy developed CPD-accredited training programmes, which they run in churches and ethnic community groups.
Visit www.living-loss.org for more details
PASTOR MARJORIE ESOMOWEI
Co-pastor and Founder of the Wise Women Awards
Pastor Marjorie, as she is affectionately known, is a woman of many talents. She co-pastors Triumphant Church International alongside her husband, Clem. She runs Wisdom for Women International, a women’s ministry that runs prayer retreats, conferences and workshops and is founder of the Wise Women Awards. This event, held every March before Mothering Sunday, recognises the achievements of Christian women in the Church and society. Pastor Marjorie also supports those in need; supplies school uniforms for vulnerable children in Nigeria; and runs an orphanage for vulnerable children.
Visit www.wisdomforwomeninternational.org.uk for more details
Creative Director and Editor of Woman Alive
Woman Alive is currently Britain’s only monthly Christian-based women’s magazine and Tola Fisher is the first Black woman to serve as its editor. Since taking over, she hasn’t been afraid to touch on topical or taboo issues, such as whether it is OK for Christian women to freeze their eggs, singleness, sex, marriage, divorce, and business, as well as other inspiring Christian content. Whatever topic is covered in the magazine, faith is at the core. Aside from being an editor, Tola is an author — her first book, Still Standing – 100 lessons from an ‘Unsuccessful Life’, was published in 2020. She is also a model and public speaker.
Visit www.christcouture.co.uk for more details
Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations at Churches Together in England
Shermara Fletcher is a prominent Millennial leader. She served as a reader at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II last September, which was watched by four billion people across the world. Shermara is a WFWP UN-recognised ambassador of world peace and Patron of the London Refugee Fund. She has been featured on national media and has contributed to several books, most recently in Young, Woke and Christian (edited by Victoria Turner). Shermara has won numerous awards, including the MAB International 2022 Young Leader of the Year Award and a Wise Women Award. She also has a passion for social integration, minority communities and developing young people.
Connect with Shermara on Instagram @fletche_official
Becca Folkes is one of the leading gospel singers of her generation. She can regularly be seen in concert line-ups or as a worship team member at major Christian events. She is signed to Minstrel Records in Canada, and ministers around the world, testifying of God’s healing power. Some of Becca’s songs, like Control, have had over a million streams on the Internet, whilst other releases, like Baba, have been covered by several fans online. Becca recently joined the exciting new worship group, Manor Collective, and is currently finishing her debut album, EXODUS, which will be out soon.
Connect with Becca on Instagram @beccafolkes
Founder and Director, The Kingdom Choir
When The Kingdom Choir, founded by Karen Gibson, sang at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018, little did Karen realise she would be launched into the gospel music stratosphere and become a leading musical force. One publication described Karen as ‘the godmother of gospel music’. Since then, Karen and The Kingdom Choir have performed regularly at major events, including the Invictus Games in Australia and the televised Pride of Britain Awards. They recently embarked on their second tour of the US in February 2023. Aside from choir directing, Karen serves as a gospel practitioner, motivational speaker and presenter. She has presented several BBC Songs of Praiseprogrammes and was a contestant on series 15 of the Celebrity Masterchef competition.
Visit www.thekingdomchoir.com for more details
Spoken Word Artist
Poetess Jess is raising the bar where being a faith-based spoken word artist is concerned. This graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama can be seen on church, public and secular stages boldly reciting her poetry. Poetess Jess has been writing biblical-inspired prose since the age of 17, and uses her poetic gifts to express her thoughts, and views on current affairs, as well as motivate and encourage Christian and secular audiences. Platforms upon which Poetess Jess has been blessed to perform include leading TV station TBN, Premier Gospel, the BBC, the MOBO Awards, the Black Magic Awards, PIA (Poets in Autumn), and the Big Church Day out. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including Best UK Poet at the UK Entertainment Awards in 2021.
Connect with Jess on Instagram @poetessjessofficial
For almost seven years, Geneva London, 13, has been delighting audiences — firstly on social media and latterly on national TV — with her exceptional drumming skills. This young drummer has used her musical journey to show what’s possible when a person utilises their talent. She has attracted celebrity support and national and international media coverage because of the joy and passion she expresses in her drumming performances. Achievements include being a BBC Teach campaign ambassador; playing on Sheila E’s (Prince’s former drummer) Christmas release, Little Drummer Girlz; serving as a guest music editor for Cocoa Girl magazine; and being an endorsed artist for global cymbal company, Sabian, and luxury American boutique drum company, A&F Drum Co, since the age of nine. Visit www.iamgeneva.com for more details
ANGIE LE MAR
Comedian, Public Speaker, Playwright and Podcaster
Angie Le Mar is an award-winning entertainer and pioneer who is renowned for her all-round entertainment, teaching and writing skills. She is the first Black British woman to achieve success as a stand-up comedian and, in the process, has blazed a trail for others. Since committing her life to Christ 12 years ago, Angie has shared her comedic gift in church and reminded Christians the truth of God’s Word that states ‘laughter is a medicine’. Angie is also a playwright, a public speaker, and hosts masterclasses on various topics. During the pandemic Angie launched We Walk Wednesdays, an initiative for women to join with others to walk in parks to promote positive mental health and exercise. She recently launched her first ever podcast where, alongside her daughter, Tru, they talk about the mother-and-daughter relationship and life issues like relationships, mental health and faith.
Visit www.angielemar.com for more details
RT REV ROSEMARIE MALLETT
Bishop of Croydon, Diocese of Southwark
In 2022, Rosemarie Mallett made history when she became the first Black woman to be appointed as Bishop of Croydon. Born in Barbados, Bishop Rosemarie grew up the UK. She was ordained a priest in 2005. Prior to her ordination, Bishop Mallett was a research sociologist and academic, specialising in international development and ethno cultural mental health. Alongside her bishopric duties, Bishop Rosemarie serves as the Southwark Diocese lead on Racial Justice. She regularly appears on BBC Radio Four’s Prayer for the Day; has led The Daily Service on BBC Radio Four; and is a spokesperson on racial and social justice issues nationally. She has also served as a trustee and director of several London charities which focus on building community cohesion.
Connect with Bishop Rosemarie on Twitter @RosemarieMallet
Founder and Director, AMC Gospel Choir
Audrey Mattis is one of the leading choir directors based in northern England/West Midlands. She is founder of the AMC Gospel Choir, who have been featured on BBC’s Songs of Praise and who perform across the UK and Europe. Audrey has also served as a musical director for Songs of Praise outside broadcasts. Aside from directing AMC, Audrey also directs Birmingham City University work-based choir, BCU Voices. She studied music at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire; is a qualified teacher; and lectures at some of the top conservatoires in the UK. She also does vocal coaching. Aside from her involvement in gospel music, Audrey works with businesses, developing their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies.
Visit www.amc-gospel.co.uk for more details
Director, Theos Think Tank
Chine is currently director of Theos, the religion and society think tank. Prior to her present role, Chine was Head of Community Fundraising and Public Engagement at Christian Aid. She has over 16 years’ experience in journalism, media and communications across faith, media and international development organisations. She is the author of God is Not a White Man: And Other Revelations, and regularly contributes to programmes like BBC’s Thought for the Day on Radio 4’s Today programme, Prayer for the Day and The Daily Service. She is vice–chair of Greenbelt Festival and a trustee of Christian Aid and Christians in Media. Chine studied Theology and Religious Studies at Cambridge University.
Visit www.theosthinktank.co.uk for more details.
EUNICE McGHIE-BELGRAVE MBE
Octogenarian, Founder of Shades of Black, Author
Eunice McGhie-Belgrave, 85, has a life journey to share, which she does in her latest book, Learning and Growing: A Lifetime of Service by God’s Grace. She is renowned in Birmingham for her community work and has won over 50 awards, including a Pride of Britain Award and an MBE. Eunice set up the Shades of Black charity in 1989 to build cohesion following the Handsworth riots. During her many years of community service, this Jamaican-born mother and Christian has also served as a school governor and launched several gardening-related projects in Stechford. Eunice worked with the Probation and After-care Service, and studies at Birmingham University. At the age of 58, she gained a qualification in community, advice and guidance work, so she could help more people.
Visit www.sobhelpproject.org.uk/ for more details
CAMILITA P NUTTALL
Businesswoman, Property Investor, Angel Investor, Philanthropist and Podcaster
Camilita P Nuttall is one of a growing number of award-winning Black Christian women making a mark in the world of business. Camilita is a self-made millionaire property investor. This serial entrepreneur is also a wealth and business coach, an angel investor, and CEO of www.eventofchampions.com, which hosts networking and mentoring events for entrepreneurs wanting to take their businesses to the next level. Camilita also presents The Camilita® Podcast, where she provides business tips and interviews fellow entrepreneurs. Camilita is a businesswoman who likes to give back, and regularly provides education for children and families.
Visit www.camilita.com for more details
JUNE ROSS MBE
Founder/CEO, Esther Community Enterprise
June is CEO and leader of Esther Community Enterprise (ECE), an organisation she founded 18 years ago. It’s a consortium of food banks across the UK and one of the largest voluntary organisations founded by a Black Christian woman here in Britain. Through her work at ECE, June oversees an army of 400 volunteers, who distribute food which feeds over 50,000 people each week. She is also a qualified social worker, welfare officer and author. June has received a number of awards for her work, including an MBE in 2016 and a BAME Baton Award in 2019.
Visit www.eceuk.org for more details
REV DR CAROL TOMLIN
Church Leader, Educator and Author
Rev Tomlin has a distinguished academic career, teaching nationally and internationally in universities. She was an Erasmus visiting lecturer in Holland and at The Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at the University of Leeds and a Senior Research Fellow for the William Temple Foundation. She is also the founder and principal of the Kingdom School of Theology, with many years of pastoral ministry as the senior leader of Restoration Fellowship Ministries and a former healthcare chaplain.
Connect with Dr Carol on Twitter @DrTomlin
Charity Founder, Speaker and Tutor at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA)
Clare Williams is a speaker and tutor at OCCA. Her work focuses upon questions of race, justice and culture, and what the Christian message has to say on these key issues. Clare is also founder of Get Real – an apologetics organisation that answers life big questions through events, discussions and social media. Prior to her work in apologetics, Clare worked for 10 years as an English teacher in London secondary schools. Clare has a degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University, and master’s in Leadership (2012) and Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity (2021) from the University of London.
Visit www.realquestions.co.uk for more information
LORRAINE WRIGHT MBE
UK Strategic Partnerships Manager, Meta and Founder, University Gospel Choir of the Year British-born Ghanaian, Lorraine Wright, is a multifaceted businesswoman, speaker, creator and personality. She is founder of the annual University Gospel Choir of the Year (UGCY) competition for which she received an MBE and, in her day job, she’s the UK Strategic Partnerships Manager for community partnerships at Meta (Facebook). Alongside her day job, Lorraine is committed to impacting and transforming lives through her multiple businesses across the UK and Ghana, including UV Talent – a music talent agency she co-founded in 2017. In 2018, this Oxford University graduate was named in the Powerlist as one of UK’s most influential people of African/African Caribbean heritage and is a recipient of a Black British Business Award. Lorraine attends Trinity Baptist Church and mentors young ladies.
Visit www.lorrainewright.co.uk for details