A church for all ages, backgrounds, cultures and nationalities

As part of our Intercultural Worshipping Communities (IWC) project, St Paul's Church in Oadby is trying services and events which deliberately bring people of different cultural and ethnic heritage together to deepen their understanding of each other and of God, according to Oadby Rector, Revd Steve Bailey. Through the IWC project they seek to learn and grow together to build a worshipping community which is transformed, shaped and moulded by each other's experiences.

A Carols by Candlelight service this Christmas included singing the first verse and chorus of O Come all ye Faithful in Tamil as a whole congregation, and then a smaller group singing a Lullaby to Jesus in Tamil. This group included mostly women who come from India but also included a couple of people from the congregation who learnt the songs, dressed culturally and joined in. After the service, mince pies and mulled wine were served as usual but this year Asian families in the church also provided 100 samosas, which proved very popular.

Rupa, who organised the service, said: "It was an absolute pleasure to sing a Tamil carol. This was the first time a Tamil song was sung in the history of St Paul’s. The song we sang is a very old Tamil song and it is actually a lullaby to baby Jesus. I used to sing this song to my two boys when they were babies to get them to sleep. Now they are 18 and 14.

"The words of the song are very powerful and meaningful as it clearly explains the Godliness and humanness of Jesus’s being - He is King, yet He came down as man, born into a ordinary family of no stature, for the sake of us. We are hoping to incorporate more languages into our weekly praise and worship as we ALL worship the same wonderful God."

Jovia, who was also involved in the service, said: "The build up to Christmas was filled with great celebrations bringing together different cultures all worshipping one Lord. I felt very much a part of the celebrations be it practising carols or making Christingles and it gave a sense of inclusion within the church community. In fact, I felt a bit lost after Christmas, it gave me so much joy this time that I am already looking forward to the next Christmas. Perhaps every week in church should be a time to rejoice and praise our Lord - why wait till Christmas?"

St Paul's vision statement says it all: "A Church for all ages, backgrounds, cultures and nationalities, growing and following Jesus."

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