Members of the Leicester United Christian Fellowship are having a double celebration this weekend, as not only will their congregation become part of the Church of England, but they will also be marking the grand opening of their very own new multi-lingual church.
On Sunday 10th June, a service of welcome will be conducted by Assistant Bishop Christopher Boyle at Leicester Cathedral from 4pm, which will include baptisms and confirmations. This will be followed with another welcome at the former St Gabriel churchon Kerrysdale Avenue at 6.30pm, which has been renamed and will re-open under the name of All Saints.
Pastor Sunny George, who is leading the congregation, said: “It’s a red letter day not only in my life, but in everyone else’s. It is a momentous occasion for us and provides us with a platform where we can unite together. I think of the Church of England as the mother church. For us it holds the highest grade of respect and it’s more of a catalyst, providing us with a platform where we can come together and make our presence felt.”
Founded in 2007 by Sunny George, the congregation currently has over 100 members of Asian origin. Speaking about the importance of having a place of worship for themselves, he added: “It’s very important. If you meet in houses or rented places then you can’t really relate yourself to the place or put your own stamp on it. We literally lose our identity.
“When you preach and worship in a multi cultural and multi lingual way then at least it makes people sit and think that the Church of England is open and receptive to people from every background and they welcome people of every human colour.”
The Assistant Bishop Christopher Boyle added: “I believe we need the presence of Leicester United Christian Fellowship in the Diocese of Leicester. We need each other’s vision of Christ to correct and enlarge and focus our own. Only together are we complete in Christ. The formalisation of the fellowship will bring them fully into the Church of England”
All Saints, which remained closed for quite some time, has been leased to the Leicester United Christian Fellowship free of charge after significant input from The Rev. Canon Javaid Iqbal, who is already a member of the Church of England. He believes that both the new premises and the inclusion in the Church of England will bring about a very positive change for the congregation and also educate other members of the society, who are sometimes quick to assume that someone of Asian originmust be a Sikh, Hindu or Muslim.