As the country celebrates the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush, one Kensal Green church has paid tribute to those who emigrated from the Caribbean with a special musical composition.

A Choral Evensong, held on Sunday 25th at St John the Evangelist, Kensal Green, was attended by local parishioners, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Patricia McAllister, the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Orleen Hylton, and the Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London Stuart Shilson.

The Anthem “All are One”, composed by Dawn Walters, was sung for the first time at St John’s on Sunday by the choir of St Mark’s Hamilton Terrace, accompanied by the St John’s Children’s Choir.

The composition was dedicated to the Windrush generation and the community of Kensal Green.

The Anthem was inspired by an Icon, Our Lady of Kensal Green and of the Windrush, which was commissioned in 2020 by St John’s Church, Kensal Green and has been on display in both Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.

The celebration also saw the opening of a new woodland garden, which has been awarded, alongside further grounds improvement, £24,000 from Westminster City Council’s ‘Greening Westminster’ scheme. The garden will be a base for Forest School Activities in conjunction with a local federation of Primary Schools, including Queen’s Park Primary School. The garden was officially opened by the Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London Stuart Shilson.

Fr David Ackerman, Vicar of St John’s Kensal Green, said:

 “The anthem “All are One” is a fitting tribute to the Caribbeans who set sail 75 years ago in search of a new life, and helped rebuild the country post-war. Our new Icon tells the remarkable story of the church in Kensal Green and celebrates the contribution of all those of the Windrush generation who became a part of this church and community, and helped make it the wonderful, vibrant place it is today.

“I pray that, with the opening of our new woodland garden, generations old and new can use it for many years to come as a space to learn and play.”

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, said:

 “It was a joy to be with the Kensal Green community for such a special commemorative service. We have so much to be thankful to the Windrush generation for; on this 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, we pay tribute to their immeasurable contributions to a country where they were not accepted as equals. We must build on their legacy – one of courage, resilience and ambition – in the hope of creating a world shaped by equity, justice and indiscriminate love, where all of God’s children know that they truly belong.”