Westminster Abbey marks 50th anniversary of the death of Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Rediscovering Justice: A Service of Hope on the 50th anniversary of the death of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr was held at Westminster Abbey at noon on Wednesday 4th April 2018. The service was attended by HRH The Duke of Kent.

At the start of the service, wreaths were laid at the Innocent Victims' Memorial by Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive, Christian Aid, and beneath the statue of Martin Luther King Jr above the Abbey's Great West Door by Lewis Lukens, Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy.

In his Bidding, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:

We come to give thanks for the life and work of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr, assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, fifty years ago today.

A statue commemorating Martin Luther King was placed in a niche on the west front of the Abbey in 1998 alongside those of nine other 20th century Christian martyrs. On his 40th anniversary in 2008, we held here in Westminster, as well as a memorial service, a day conference with black, Asian, and minority ethnic young people to learn the lessons of his life and witness.

Today, working together with Christian Aid, we hope again to learn from the example of Martin Luther King and to commit ourselves afresh to keeping the dream alive of justice for all peoples under God and of peace in the world.

The Right Reverend Dr Karowei Dorgu, Bishop of Woolwich, gave the Address.

The Reverend Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, led the Confession. The Dean gave the Absolution.

Testimonies were read by Dr R David Muir, Senior Lecturer, University of Roehampton, and Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive, Christian Aid.

Baroness (Doreen) Lawrence of Clarendon read Amos 5: 18-24, and Pastor Modupe Afolabi, National Administrator, Redeemed Christian Church of God UK, read St Luke 18: 1-8. Noah Reddie gave a reading adapted from Clementine Naita.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, Minor Canon and Sacrist, and said by: the Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence; the Reverend Michaela Youngson, President-Elect, the Methodist Conference; Bishop Donald Bolt, National Administrative Bishop, the New Testament Church of God; and the Reverend Dr Hugh Osgood, President, Churches Together in England and Moderator, the Free Churches Group.

The service was sung by the Martin Luther King Celebration Choir, conducted by Karen Gibson and John Fisher, with soloists Wayne Hernandez and Tracey Campbell. The organ was played by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist.

The service was recorded by BBC Radio for future broadcast.

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