Many Nations: One Saviour
For the past four years, Feltham Evangelical Church have held an annual International Day to celebrate the different nations represented in their fellowship. At their latest event, the reading from Revelation was read in more than a dozen languages. Phil Topham has been finding out more.
If you look out into the congregation at Feltham Evangelical Church (FEC), you will see people from some 15 nations across the world represented on most Sunday mornings.
What is it that holds such a diverse group of people together? The Lord Jesus Christ.
Every year, FEC celebrate their diversity by hosting an International Day where the church is decorated with flags from all the different nations ahead of a special service and a bring and share meal with food from across the world.
Philip Venables is pastor at FEC and explains how their International Day works:
“It’s an annual opportunity to celebrate our diversity of backgrounds, but unity in Christ. This year we encouraged people to dress in clothing from another nation represented in the church so I preached my sermon in a Ghanaian shirt.
“During our service we sang songs from Columbia, the Philippines, Nigeria and Ghana to show the different church cultures we represent. Amidst all this diversity we can glory in how we have been brought together in Christ.
“I preached on Revelation 5 to lay before us all the wonder of how God works to bring a people together in one Saviour. The reading was read in fourteen languages with fourteen different people each reciting a verse in their mother tongue. A great variety of backgrounds, but one Saviour.
“The world aspires to ‘the brotherhood of man becoming a reality’ and yet it is as far off as ever. But God marvellously achieves this through His Son, and all who come to Him are in Christ bound together by His Spirit.
“We are privileged here in Feltham to be able to display something of this. In many ways our International Day gives us a beautiful heavenly foretaste.”
Philip says the International Day is a blessing to the whole church – particularly those whose roots are outside of the UK – because it gives a statement that they are included. He has pastored FEC since 2004 and has seen Feltham become increasingly multi-ethnic.
“Being a Church with a congregation from many backgrounds does bring its challenges. The fact that we have different cultural experiences can lead to misunderstandings and a need to be sensitive to each other.
“But we are seeing people drawn together, and notwithstanding the difficulties there is the great joy of looking out on a Sunday morning at so many worshipping together from different parts of the world - this is something only the LORD can do. This has been underlined to us after church members recognised a brother from an Ethiopian background as one of our elders.”