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Annual Civic Service for the Cllr Hamza Taouzzale, the Lord Mayor of Westminster

Published: 12 July 2022

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The Lord Mayor with his consort and mace bearer. His Imam and Waterman are featured in the backgorund

Westminster Abbey made history on Sunday when it held the first ever Civic Service to mark the appointment of the City's only Muslim Lord Mayor.

No stranger to making history, the Abbey is the location for coronations and one of London’s most recognisable landmarks. This was no exemption as the Lord Mayor is the first Muslim Lord Mayor and Deputy High Steward of Westminster in its history. Another first the chaplain, Imam Kabir Uddin MBE. He has been the Imam for HMP Wormwood Scrubs for nearly 20 years and is responsible for ensuring that faith and pastoral needs of those in custody are met.

The honorary role of Deputy High Steward is given to the Lord Mayor of Westminster by the Dean of Westminster and Chapter in an annual Civic Service dating back to 1935.

With his mother - who was acting as consort for the day - by his side, and the Lord Mayor were greeted by the Venerable Tricia Hillas, Canon in Residence.

Morning prayers, also known as matins, were sung before the Venerable Tricia Hills gave the sermon. The Lord Mayor then read from the Old Testament and Leader of Westminster Council, Cllr Adam Hug, spoke about peace and wisdom in his reading from the New Testament. Prayers led by the Reverend Robert Latham and music sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey.

After the service, councillors, Air and Army Cadets, friends, and family joined the Lord Mayor for a reception in the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

The Right Worshipful The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Hamza Taouzzale, said:

It is a great honour and a privilege to hold the position of Deputy High Steward of Westminster. I am proud to say I am the City’s first Muslim Lord Mayor and Deputy High Steward.

It is one of my lesser-known responsibilities but still a very important one.

On such a historic day, I was glad to share the moment with my family, friends, councillors, and the wider community.