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Ilford Asian church honoured for community work

An Asian Church based in Ilford for over 30 years has been presented with two awards by the British Pakistani Christian Association for their acclaimed service to their local community and the UK Pakistani diaspora.

The church has became an example to Asian Christian churches across the UK due to its remarkable attitude towards bringing unity amongst the Pakistani Christian diaspora.

BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry attended their Christmas Day service (pictured below) which had more than 200 visitors and the church has a regular congregation of around 70 and is growing.

Their contribution to the local community has been immense through some of the most riveting performances at Redbridge Easter Parade and Redbridge Christmas Festival 2017 and also contributing images and some text that was included within Redbridge Museum's exhibition on Independence for the British Raj at Valentines Mansion.

The miniature display boards produced highlighted the existence and productivity of Pakistani Christians in Redbridge. This was important as it was the only occasion a UK borough council or city acknowledged the existence of Pakistani Christians during any Pakistan Independence day exhibitions across the nation.

Hannah Chowdhry (pictured right), a long term volunteer for BPCA, presented the awards during the Christmas service and Wilson Chowdhry said a prayer for the victims of the Quetta Methodist Church attack. Here is the script that Hannah read out:

“The first BPCA Community Award we are presenting is to Ilford Asian Church Choir for their wonderful efforts and performances at Redbridge Easter Parade and the Christmas Festival.

“At the Easter Parade your choir team performed immaculately. They had a wonderful range of instruments which complimented their beautiful voices. The result of which was the most stirring performance of the event which was a great prelude to the speech by the Third Minister of the Pakistan Embassy. Moreover the performance illustrated to wider Redbridge people the vigour and passion that is exhibited in Urdu worship.

“When the Ilford Asian Church Dholl players joined at the rear of the Easter procession, they created the biggest talking point of the event and created a wonderful cultural extravaganza.

“At Redbridge Christmas Festival the manner in which the Ilford Asian Choir were present from the beginning to the end of the event was duly noted and appreciated. Their vocal performance at the end of the event capped things off in style and displayed the great diversity of God's church. Well done one and all.

“The second award is presented to Ilford Asian Church's dynamic leader Shaheen Zar for his efforts in galvanizing Pakistani Christians together.

“Pakistani Christians are normally very divided, however those attending this wonderful church break the mould. When our first venue was cancelled Shaheen organised use of St Andrew's Church for the second anniversary event held for martyr Shahbaz Bhatti.

“Despite late notice he also ensured our Easter event and Christmas events had Ilford Asian Church participation and ensured the church contributed magnificently.

“He also helped contribute towards the return of the Ilford Nativity scene at the Town Hall steps fulfilling the desire of 83% of those polled by the Ilford Recorder.

“His commitment to initiating and leading Ilford Asian Church has made it one of the largest if not the largest Urdu church in London. BPCA are proud to have been able to work with such a passionate and dedicated Christian stalwart.”

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