Church service marks anniversary of George Floyd killing
Church leaders from Britain and Ireland will call for justice at a national service marking the first anniversary of the killing of George Floyd on 25 May 2021
Titled Doing Justice: A National Service of Reflection on the Anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, the service will host senior church leaders and local Christians at the NTCG Brixton Community Church in south London. They will remember the tragic death of Mr Floyd, as well as challenge churches and communities in Britain and Ireland to stand up for justice, and against racism, ignorance, and hatred.
Due to the existing COVID-19 restrictions, the socially-distanced service will be recorded on 18 May 2021, but broadcast at 7pm on 25 May 2021, via YouTube and other social media platforms. BBC Radio 4 will subsequently broadcast the service at 8:10 am on Sunday 30 May for its Sunday Worship programme.
The national service features contributions from the Archbishop of York - the Right Revd Stephen Cotterill, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo from Kingsway International Christian Centre, Pastor Agu Irukwu of RCCG’s Jesus House, the Bishop of London - the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of Dover - Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Revd Les Isaac from the Ascension Trust and Street Pastors Network, and Lynn Green from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, among others.
The service was initiated by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), an ecumenical organisation that encourages Christian unity, and includes churches of all traditions and denominations. One of the organisers, Richard Reddie, Director for Justice and Inclusion at CTBI said, ‘Last year, George Floyd’s killing and the Black Lives Matters protests that followed, showed that many were saying “enough is enough” when it comes to racism, especially the form experienced by Black people on both sides of the Atlantic. This anniversary is a timely reminder that we need to continue the work started last year, if we are really committed to ending injustice in church and society.’
The Venerable Dr Rosemarie Mallett, Archdeacon of Croydon, who, alongside being one of the organisers, is also participating in the service itself, said, ‘There was a clear international dimension to the killing of George Floyd. We saw demonstrations right across the globe. We want our service to reflect that global outpouring for justice, so the service will be a truly inclusive gathering. We want to send a strong message that racism has no place in church or society.’
The service will be complemented by the music of the awarding-winning IDMC choir, one of the leading Gospel choirs in Britain. It will also feature poetry, prayers and a symbolic action that sees local schoolchildren laying candles at the foot of a cross to remember all those who have lost their lives to intolerance. This activity will be followed by a minute’s silence to remember them, including, of course, George Floyd.
The Revd Wale Hudson-Roberts, Justice Enabler for the Baptist Union of Great Britain and another of the organisers, said, ‘Despite what some may suggest, inequality and racism sadly remain detrimental factors in our society. If the Church is to speak prophetically to society on these issues, it must first get its own house in order because we still have a lot of work to do ourselves to truly become the types of organisations that are committed to doing justice.’
Doing Justice: A National Service of Reflection on the Anniversary of the murder of George Floyd will be recorded on 18 May 2021 at 1pm and broadcast on 25 May 2021 at 7pm via Youtube: youtube.com/user/ctbimedia