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31st August 2017

Convention at Cathedral for South Asian Christians

A significant gathering of South Asian Christians from across Lancashire took place recently at Blackburn Cathedral.

The South Asian Christian Convention was attended and supported by the Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev. Philip North and the Archdeacon of Blackburn, The Venerable Mark Ireland.

The main sermon was delivered by Rev. Canon Dr Arun John, Vicar of St James’ Blackburn while Rev. Kamran Bhatti, Curate at The Risen Lord, Preston coordinated and led the whole gathering.

Worship in traditional South Asian style was planned and led by Rev. Victor Sohail, Curate at Great Marsden, St John while Rev. Munawar Din, Curate of Christ Church Blackburn looked after invitations. View a short video of the worship on our Diocesan YouTube channel.

The purpose of the Convention was to bring together Christians of South Asian heritage from across the region and to mark the importance of this lively community to the Church of England and the wider Church.

In his sermon, Rev. Arun John said: “Today we rejoice as we celebrate our Christian faith together with the members and senior leadership of the Diocese of Blackburn.

“This is a wonderful initiative. In the last five years we have welcomed five South Asian Priests from Indian and Pakistani backgrounds into the Diocese of Blackburn.

“We also have an enthusiastic Diocesan senior leadership who are committed that South Asian Christians should feel part of the wider Body of Christ.

“Today Christians from every race, every language and every ethnicity have great opportunity to witness the living healing power of Jesus in our fractured world.

“God has called us in this country and Christians from different backgrounds must realise that we are inter-dependent. As believers coming from South Asia we are here to complement the wider church with our gifts to strengthen the Body of Christ in the County. We can’t allow ourselves to be disconnected from the Body of Christ.

“We have a wonderful opportunity to work together. The Diocese of Blackburn has its Vision 2026 which includes the aim of planting 50 new congregations. (In this context) I am aware that our Asian community (is) a mature group of believers. We have a lot to offer to this Diocese and particularly our neighbours of other faiths.”

Commenting on the Convention today, Bishop Philip said: “I was delighted to attend and support this wonderful and uplifting event at the Cathedral.

“The Christian community from South Asia in Lancashire is a precious and important part of the life our Diocese.

“I was so impressed by their commitment to making disciples, being witnesses and growing leaders for Jesus Christ here in the County, which are the key aims of our Vision 2026.”

Archdeacon Mark added: “The Convention was a superb event and I would like to say a particular thank you to Kamran, Munawar and Victor who coordinated everything before and on the day.

“I have already expressed the hope that another convention will take place next year, as I believe it has the potential to grow and become a really important part of the life and witness of our diocese.”