On Thursday 7th January our vicar, Rev Arun John ,was installed as Area Dean by the Bishop of Blackburn in a service at St James’ Church. There were many visiting clergy and an Asian Christian choir joining the celebration. The service was well attended by members of the congregation from St Stephen’s as well as St James’. It was a very proud day for us and for our vicar. It is an honour and a privilege for him to be given such a prestigious position. We wish him well in this new role.
Bishop Julian, as part of his exercise to know the clergy and laity in different deaneries in Blackburn Diocese, had offered three days from 7th to 9th September to meet different clergies in the deanery of Blackburn with Darwen.
So on 8th September Bishop Julian spent about two hours with our vicar Arun to understand our mission and ministry in the United Benefice of St. Stephen’s and St. James Blackburn. After an hour of sharing they both spent time together in prayer at the side chapel of St. James’ Blackburn. The evening concluded with dinner (South and South East Asian meal) cooked by Arun as Bina is still in India.
Arun writes, ‘Bishop Julian is a passionate Christian with a zeal to communicate the Gospel of Jesus to people of different faiths or no faith in the Diocese. I found him to be a leader with a vision to build the confidence of both laity and ordained ministers to live for Christ and share their joyful Christian testimony with their neighbours offering them hope and assurance of God’s loving care in Jesus Christ.’
We pray that God may continue to lead and guide Bishop Julian
After three years Blackburn with Carlisle Diocese played its first Times Cup Clergy Cricket Tournament – thanks in the main to the glorious weather this year! The match was against a team from the Diocese of Liverpool and took place on the 5th June. Arun had his first hat-trick, taking four wickest in three overs, helping the team to win the match against Liverpool.
In the next round on June 19th however, as much as Arun enjoyed playing against the team from Manchester Diocese and taking four wickets in the process, the team lost the match and could not reach the Semi-Final.
Let’s hope that St. James’ Derek and Arun will be able to put up a team together and arrange sometournament with local teams to have some time of fun and fellowship with our neighbours.
If you want to see Arun’s batting style, a couple of images are included in the link below !
An expert in Asian Christian Ministry and Cross Cultural mission has
been appointed to a parish in the Blackburn Diocese after pioneering
initiatives in Bradford. Canon Dr Arun John will be priest in charge of
St James, Blackburn and St Stephen’s Harwood after seven years in
the Bradford Diocese.
Services in Urdu that he began there surprised him by
attracting South Asian Christians from all over the North of England.
These Christians ‘are one of the most neglected minority ethnic
communities,’ he said.
‘They’re often ostracised by the Muslim and Hindu
communities from which they came, and yet their white neighbours
confuse them as Muslims or Hindus, so they feel they belong
nowhere.’ He is continuing research that ‘aims to raise their profile
and to encourage them to integrate with the wider Christian
community with more confidence.’
Dr John, from North India, was an Archdeacon in
Johannesburg when Bishop David James invited him to Bradford in
2004. Initiatives he launched in Yorkshire included drawing together
local organisations, faith groups and projects to learn about. and
engage in, each other’s work. The Sharakat (Communion) project is
owned by a Muslim Trust and local Christan churches.
Dr John also launched a ‘goodwill gathering’ at the Hindu
Cultural Society, enjoyed strong friendships among the staff of the
Council of Mosques, and welcomed ecumenical support from the
Bradford District Faiths Forum