Author: Rev Darrell Jackson, Researcher in European Mission and Evangelism, Conference of European Churches & Elder in a Church in Central Europe.
In 1954, Methodist and Anglican church members in and around parts of north-west London were asked not to return to the churches they had been attending. Often they would be told by existing members of their congregations, ‘This really isn’t the kind of church for you,’ or, ‘You probably won’t find this church to be what you’re looking for, you know.’ The real message was obvious, ‘We don’t want you worshipping with us!’
What was the reason for these approaches? The Methodists and Anglicans in question were from the Caribbean, invited to the UK by the British government to fill many of the manual jobs for which there were too few British national males in the aftermath of the Second World War. Many of these first generation migrant Christians would form their own ‘black-majority’ churches, or in a few rare instances find a welcome among a ‘white-majority’ congregation.
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