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03 November 2011

Pastor wins London Mayor award

Pastor Agu Irukwu has been named London's most inspirational black person.

Throughout October, Londoners voted as part of mayor Boris Johnson's awards, and the senior pastor of Jesus House church in Brent Cross, north London, has emerged as the winner.

General director of the Evangelical Alliance Steve Clifford said: "Pastor Agu is a friend and excellent leader and worthy of this nomination. Boris Johnson should be proud to be associated with the leader of a thriving church bringing hope and well-being to its congregation and surrounding community."

To mark the Mayor of London's competition, the Greater London Authority's building City Hall hosted a special exhibition in October showcasing the nominees in the Chamber area.

Nominations also included other church leaders Rev Nezlin Stirling and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, speakers chaplain Rose Hudson-Wilkin and the Rt Rev Wilfred Wood who were also featured in The Metro's Top Black Heroes.

The award nominations covered business, politics, media and the arts covering the last 200 years of black historical achievements. The award has recognised Pastor Agu's work in responsible citizen and leaders programmes as well as care for the elderly, young people and vulnerable people in the local area.

Steve added: "It is so encouraging that some of our key church leaders are recognised in this competition. These are men and women who not only lead churches, but are leaders in their communities. They are an inspiration to men, women and children and this is a great opportunity to support them and celebrate their achievement."

In the Guardian's dedicated site to Black History Month, in October, both Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are noted as key figures on the black history timeline. Pastor Nims Obunge who led on much of the church peace work following the summer's riots, wrote about the inspiration that his pastor father gave him for his organisation The Peace Alliance. He said: "He gave me every desire to emulate him, and his life was later to influence my work in The Peace Alliance and my passion to see people from all walks of life succeed despite the odds. Our family prayed together every morning and night. More than anything else my father instilled in us a strong belief that we gain our identity from who we are rather than from other people's assumptions of us."

And as part of a special edition on the summer riots and focus on Black History Month (BHM) itself, Prime Minister David Cameron contributed in Christian magazine Keep the Faith, writing about the role that faith leaders have to play in guiding people in communities. "I believe faith leaders have a key role to play in instilling this greater sense of right and wrong," he wrote. "And it is up to us to help in this mission to build a fairer, stronger and more responsible society."