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Inspired by Christianity

STAND BY ME: Karen Gibson’s Kingdom Choir catapulted to stardom after the royal wedding

LAVINE HUDSON – During the 1980s and ‘90s the late Lavine Hudson was one of gospel’s most well known singers. She remains the only UK female gospel singer to get a record deal with a major label as a soloist, when she signed to Virgin Records. Her debut album featured the hit song Intervention. She worked with gospel greats of the time including Marvin Winans and The Clark Sisters.

Rev Dr Oliver Lyseight – He is the founder of the New Testament Church of God, one of Britain’s oldest black Pentecostal denominations. Jamaican-born Lyseight, above right, started the NTCG in 1955 in Wolverhampton’s YMCA building. Since its humble start, the NTCG has grown and has branches across the UK and is now one of Britain’s most well known black denominations.

Bazil Meade MBE – He is co-founder of the London community gospel choir – also known as LCGC – Britain’s first ever community choir. Basil launched LCGC in 1981 alongside Bishop Delroy Powell and Lawrence Johnson. LCGC has performed in many of Britain’s iconic venues including the Royal Albert Hall and the Jazz Café. Earlier his year Bazil collected an MBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music, especially the development of British gospel music.

Dr Kate Coleman – She is the first black British woman to be ordained as a Baptist minister, and in 2006 she became the first black woman to be appointed as President of the Baptist Union of great Britain. Dr Kate Coleman currently runs a consultancy that provides training for leaders.

Bishop Wilfred Wood – In 1985 Bishop Wilfred Wood was ordained as Bishop of Croydon and made history in the process as he was the first black person to be appointed to the role. Born in Barbados, Bishop Wood served in the role for 18 years and stepped down in 2003. He came second in a list of 100 Great Black Britons published in 2004.

Rev Carmel Jones – In 1980 he founded the Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU) to provide loans for black people experiencing difficulty accessing loans and other services from established financial institutions. It is now the second largest credit union in the UK and has an asset base of £10m.

Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin – An ordained Church of England minister, Rev Hudson-Wilkin is the first black female vicar to serve as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, priest vicar at Westminster Abbey and chaplain to the Queen. She is also regularly featured in media and leads a church based in the city of London.

Rev Joel Edwards – Rev Joel Edwards made history in 1997 when he became the first black church leader to lead the Evangelical Alliance, the representative body for one million Christians in the UK. He served in that role for 12 years. He currently serves as international director for Micah Challenge.

Pastor Matthew Ashimowolo – He made history in 1998 when he opened the largest church Britain had seen for 100 years. The Miracle Centre in Hackney, east London could hold up to 4,000 worshippers. The building was closed down and the land sold to make way for the 2012 London Olympics.

Archbishop John Sentamu – In 2005 Archbishop Sentamu, right, became the second most senior leader within the Church of England when he was appointed Archbishop of York. He also presided over the CoE’s Seeds of Hope report which sought to encourage more black people into positions of leadership in the church.

Karen Gibson – In May she directed the first gospel choir to perform at a royal wedding. The Kingdom Choir’s rendition of Stand By Me was viewed by two billion people across the world. The choir was then signed by Sony music. Their debut album will be out next month.

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