This month Wolverhampton welcomed the unveiling of a plaque recognising the service of the late Rev. Dr. Oliver A. Lyseight, a former nominee of the 100 Great Black Britons survey.
On September 20, 2013, a plaque commemorating Dr. Oliver A.Lyseight, a founding member and first leader of the New Testament Church of god (UK), marked an important historically date in wolverhampton. He was recognised by Wolverhampton Civic and Historical Society for his service to the New Testament Church of God and the Community at large, locally and nationally.
Many dignitaries including the Jamaican High Commissioner, Her Excellency Aloun Ndombet Assamba, Patrick Vernon OBE, David Bennett Chairman for Black Local History & Cultural Archives Project, local MPs, representatives of Wolverhampton Civic & Historical Society and leaders of the New Testament Church of God attended the ceremony.
Back in 2004 Dr. Lyseight was voted joint 2nd in the 100 Great Black Britons survey. During his term in office some of his highlights included:
- The legal and charitable status of the Church was firmly established
- Solicitors, accountants and auditors were appointed
- District/local structures were established
- He was a Founding Father of the Afro West Indian United Council of Churches and a prominent voice in the work of Ecumenism in the wider church movement
Patrick Vernon OBE founder of 100 Great Black Britons said: “The date of the unveiling coincides with the establishment of the first meeting of the church in Wolverhampton exactly 60 years ago. This recognition happened as result of my campaign 10 year on 100 Great Black Britons where he was voted in voted joint second with Bishop Wood.”
“I made the case to the Wolverhampton Civic and Historical Society who are designing and installing the plaque that he should be recognised at a meeting that I was presenting during Black History Month last year. Thus also being born in Wolverhampton it feels a real achievement to contribute to this successful outcome.”
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “Reverend Lyseight was the founder of the New Testament Church of God here in Britain and a key figure amongst the Caribbean and wider community here. His work and reputation extended far beyond Wolverhampton. When faced with racism, he devoted his efforts to supporting the black community in order that they could practise there faith. The New Testament Church of God stands now with over 107 branches, clearly showing the important legacy of Reverend Lyseight’s work.”
“Today we have come a long way in the fight against racism from the attitudes Dr Lyseight experienced in the 1950s but there is still more to be done. It cannot be right that if you are a young black man in this country you are still today significantly less likely to be employed than other people, and that people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to be represented in senior public life roles. The Labour Party will continue to fight hard for equal opportunity and against injustice and unfair discrimination as Reverend Lyseight did during his lifetime,” Miliband continued.
Cllr Vernon concluded: “The unveiling also supports the campaign around recognition of Windrush Day as an annual event of the Caribbean and other migrant communities’ contribution to Britain” ( Windrush Day Petition ).
The Rev. Eric A. Brown FRSA (Administrative Bishop) said: “Dr. Lyseight was a man with a confident faith in God and His Word. He was full of the Holy Spirit and this made him a bold, confident, courageous leader. He could be gentle and he could be bruising. He was selfless and compassionate. He was full of wisdom, a mentor and a motivator.”