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Dimitri's Heritage

Black History Month Student Stories: "That foundation of praying everyday came from my grandma and my family lineage; that Windrush generation."

Tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Dimitri. I am the second generation born from Windrush. My father and mother were born here in the UK and my grandparents are from Grenada. I am really passionate about helping people discover themselves and who they are.

Why did you choose to train for ordination at St Mellitus College?

I wanted somewhere where I can apply my theory and practise together. Currently, I am a first year ordinand with my sending and placement church being St Paul’s Hammersmith. As far as college life so far, there was a moment when I did the Peter Stream, last year, where I fell in love even deeply and more profoundly with the Eucharist and what that meant. I really felt the community at College help to foster that moment and really understand and sit in the beauty of what that is.

What tips or advice do you have for a prospective student?

Enjoy the excitement of meeting people from all over the country coming together. It’s knowing that you are learning with so many different people.

Who are your Black History role models?

I have many like Nelson Mandela and former Bishop Desmond Tutu. Friends and family members such as Mike Royal and Ken Roberts, my cousin, have pioneered the way for me. Knowing and seeing these examples of what they have in different denominations of the Christian faith but are still men who were pioneering and showing how I can lead, ask questions and be myself, is so hugely powerful for me.

Can you share a personal experience or accomplishment related to Black history that has been particularly meaningful to you?

I spoke about the meaning of Black History Month to me at a charity I used to work for. For me, Black History Month is 365. It's all year round. Black history is every single day! It is knowing that to be proud of who we are and proud of the lessons that I have been taught. I think about my grandma and how she displayed who Christ was. That foundation of praying everyday came from my grandma and my family lineage; that Windrush generation.

How do you believe your education and future ministry plans can play a role in promoting Black history awareness and equality in the church or outside the church in ministry?

The biggest thing is for us to not shy away from the conversation. I recognise within myself that my grandma won’t be alive to see me one day become ordained but she was the person who instilled faith in me. It is to understand and recognise that for several Black men and women, their ancestors were told that they weren’t allowed to go into some churches. It’s to be honest with the realities of what affects us every day but also how empowering and how uplifting our testimonies and our stories are. I am proud of my heritage, and I am proud of the adventures that my grandparents had for them to be here for such a time as this; for me to be born in England but then pursue a pathway that I didn’t think would be possible but by the grace of God it is! I would say that Black History Month in one way or another connects all of us. The beautiful thing about history is to look at it and not to stare but to look at it and think how we can move forward in a way where we get to honour, display love, and recognise what has gone before us.

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