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London church apologises to pastor over racist and unchristian treatment 65 years ago

by Marcus Jones

St Paul's Church in Clapham has hosted a special service to make amends for the racist treatment received by Rev Carmel Jones when he visited back in 1955.

After arriving in London from Jamaica as part of the Windrush Generation, Rev Jones attended the church as an Anglican himself but was told by the then minister not to come back.

He was later invited to a new Pentecostal church, The Church of God in Christ, where he has served ever since.

Jones is now an ordained minister and founder of the Pentecostal Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in Britain.

After hearing of Rev Jones' experience, and as part of its Black History Month celebrations, the current minister of St Paul's, Rev Canon Jonathan Boardman, invited Rev Carmel Jones to its annual dedication festival service.  

In the service, Rev Jones received the welcome St Paul's said he should have received when he first visited in 1955. He was also give a public apology over what was described as "racist and unchristian".

Rev Canon Jonathan Boardman said: "Trying to make amends is a two-way process because it brings good to both sides of a hurtful occurrence. It is our painful duty to apologise to the Rev Jones for the mistakes of our predecessors, but his return is a moment of exceptional joy."

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