Farsi Christians celebrate Communion in mother tongue

Published: 4th March 2019

Farsi Christians from a Wolverhampton church took part in the launch of a new Persian language translation of Holy Communion to help growing numbers of Iranians in congregations who are learning English.

Authorised by the House of Bishops, the publication of the Farsi language service affirms the presence of Iranians in churches as a gift, and demonstrates commitment to welcoming them into the life of the Church of England.

The new liturgy is designed to be used alongside English language liturgy, with both languages printed side by side, enabling people to follow and participate in services.

At a special celebration service in Wakefield Cathedral, the Bishops of Loughborough, Bradford and Durham used the service wording for the first time.

Members of congregations from churches across England, including British, Iranian and other nationality Christians, attended the service including 15 people from the Farsi Fellowship from St Chad and St Mark in Wolverhampton.

One of the Wolverhampton group, Mohammad Ghorashinejad, said: "To worship God in my mother tongue with hundreds of other Iranians made me feel even stronger in my faith. I know in my heart that it is the Lord Jesus that has brought me to this and give thanks."

The Bishop of Loughborough, Guli Francis-Dehqani, who came to the UK from Iran with her family when she was just 14-years-old, following the events of the 1979 revolution, presided at the service and conveyed messages from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

Her father was the late Bishop Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, the first Persian Bishop in Iran, who was forced into exile after an attempt on his life and the murder of his only son.

Bishop Gulis role within the Diocese of Leicester has a particular focus on encouraging and enabling the participation and ministry of BAME heritage people in churches.

Together with the Bishop of Bradford and Bishop of Durham, she holds a brief for supporting work with Persian Christians around the country. The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Toby Howarth helped her lead the service and the sermon was given by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler.

Wakefield Cathedral - one of three cathedrals in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds - began a ministry for Iranian refugees in 2016. They started twice-weekly Bible classes three years ago and a weekly Sunday service in response to this. Since that time the Cathedral family has gained volunteer vergers, welcomers, kitchen assistants and translators. And last Christmas, a Persian baby, christened Jesus by his parents, was at the centre of the Cathedrals Nativity service.

Caption (top): Bishop Toby Howarth, Mohsen and Sara Chinaveh with their baby Jesus, Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop Paul Butler.

Photo credit: Tony Johnson, Yorkshire Post

Page last updated: Monday 4th March 2019 3:44 PM
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