People from across the County and beyond attended the third South Asian Christian Convention for The Church of England in Lancashire, which was held on Sunday at St John’s Church, Nelson.
The theme of the Convention was ‘Come, follow me…’ based on one of the key aspects of the Diocesan Vision 2026: Specifically, ‘making disciples’ for Jesus Christ.
Both traditional and contemporary hymns were led by the choir and worship leaders and the guest preacher this year was the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Julian Henderson.
As previously, the convention attracted many Christians, of Asian and white British heritage, from within and beyond the Diocese.
The service was planned and led by Rev Kamran Bhatti, of St Cuthbert’s Church in Preston; Rev Munawar Din, of Christ Church, Blackburn and Rev Victor Sohail and Rev Lorelli Hilliard, both of St John’s, Great Marsden and St Philip’s, Nelson.
A new addition for this year to the service was prayer ministry. Bishop Julian and his team were available for prayer at the end of the service and many individuals and families were prayed for.
Speaking after the service Rev Munawar Din said: “It has been another excellent convention where the Gospel of Christ was preached and inspired many people.
“I believe the Holy Spirit will continue to work in the hearts, minds and lives of people to transform them and to follow Christ.”
Bishop Julian said: “This now annual service held by the South Asian Christian Convention in our Diocese is a wonderful way to celebrate the important part people from that diverse part of the world play in our congregations here in this Diocese.
“The rich heritage and culture on display at the service was a joy to behold and I was honoured to be asked to preach at the event, particularly as they chose the theme to reflect our Diocesan Vision 2026 Healthy Churches Transforming Communities.
“I spoke of Jesus’ call to individuals to come and follow Him, His creation of a team who would continue His work after His death and who would seek to lead others to become His followers.
“The Christian imperative is always to be looking outwards, to making new disciples, and never be satisfied with how things are now.
“So, my message was designed to inspire and encourage a greater and a more prayerful and focussed emphasis on bringing others to faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what we are here for.”
A keen supporter of the Convention across all three years of the event has been The Venerable Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn, who added: “It was a joy to worship with so many Christians from a South Asian background, whose joyful praise and deep prayerfulness make such a contribution to the life of the diocese.
“Not being an Urdu speaker, I didn’t understand everything, but that was a good preparation for heaven when we shall be worshipping God as a part of a great company whom no one can number, from every race, tribe, language and nation.
“The service was beautifully led by three clergy of South Asian heritage whose vocations have been nurtured by the Diocese, and my prayer is that we shall see many more clergy and lay leaders from a South Asian background taking a lead in mission over the coming years, as we serve all the people of Lancashire.”