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Westminster Abbey marks 50th anniversary of MLK's death

HONOUR: The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Westminster Abbey walls (Photo credit: Andrew Dunsmore/Westminster Abbey)

TODAY (APR 4) marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's death. To commemorate this milestone, a ceremony took place at Westminster abbey as HRH The Duke of Kent, the general public and more payed their respects to Dr. King.

At the start of the service, wreaths were laid at the Innocent Victims' Memorial by Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive of 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.

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, a memorial service, a day conference with black, Asian, and minority ethnic young people took place to learn the lessons of his life and witness.

Working together with Christian Aid, those who participated in the ceremony hoped again to learn from the example that Dr. King set 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, whilst 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.


Amanda Khozi Mukwashi (Photo credit: Andrew Dunsmore/Westminster Abbey)

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.


Martin Luther King Celebration Choir (Photo credit: Andrew Dunsmore/Westminster Abbey)

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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