Chief Sam Duru tells us how Holy Trinity Church in Heath Town, Wolverhampton, where he is a PCC member, celebrated Black History Month:
On 23 and 24 October members of Holy Trinity Church, in the company of friends and well wishers, gathered at the church hall to celebrate the diversity of our church to mark Black History Month 2021 and listen to eloquent speeches from three members of our community, who shared their journey and experience of life as black men or women in our multicultural society in Wolverhampton and beyond.
Our speakers covered such topics as experience at the workplace, mental health issues experienced by the wider community, especially the black community. We also listened to some history lessons in relation to how long the black heritage had been in existence in the United Kingdom well before Windrush.
On Sunday 24 October, we had two church service sessions as we listened to testimonies of a young man, Ashley Samuels, who grew up from Holy Trinity Church family and is now starring on the West End stage in London. Ashley talked about how he is getting on in the wider world and as a performer, particularly in London. We also heard about an early experience of Mrs Cynthia Waters from Holy Trinity on her first days at Holy Trinity and how she was welcomed by several members of the church which was positive, as well as a negative comment directed to her from a member of the public at a bus queue in the 1960s in Wolverhampton.
To crown the day, we listened to a rousing sermon delivered by our guest preacher the Revd Cassius Francis from the Weslyan Holiness Church entitled 'Why we still need to talk about Race', using the Scripture from Galatians 3: 23– 29.
The Saturday was memorable as members of our church and their families, as well as Bishop Clive and Archdeacon of Walsall Julian Francis, joined us in sharing a bountiful lunch provided by various members of the church congregation.
We at Holy Trinity would like to acknowledge the generous support of the church leaders and the wider members of the community around us who also were present.
We definitely hope to repeat this celebration next year as we continue to encourage the next generation to live in harmony and trust in Almighty God.
Archdeacon Julian said: “The Church of England owes a huge debt of gratitude to its black and minority ethnic membership, especially in our urban areas. This event at Holy Trinity Church was a fine celebration of black Christian discipleship and community engagement, with eyes fixed firmly on encouraging the next generation. Our sincere thanks go to Chief Sam Duru for organising this excellent event and to the Revd Richard Merrick for offering the hospitality of Holy Trinity Church.”
The Revd Richard Merrick, Vicar of Holy Trinity, said: "It is a privilege to lead a church which is so diverse in its membership and to celebrate Black History Month in the way that we have for the first time this year. I was struck by a comment from one of the speakers on Saturday, Mr Stephen Brooks, who said “Black history isn’t just for October”. How right he is. I trust and pray that this celebration will not only become an annual event on our church calendar, but that it will continue to add to our prayerful plan to ensure that our leadership team truly reflects the ethnic and generational diversity of our church and wider community, as the Lord calls out the next generation of leaders to use their God-given gifts and talents for His purpose."