Sunday, July 29, 2007

Evensong visitors

Unless there are city centre road closures on a Sunday, due to a big stadium event preventing worshippers from getting in to the centre to attend worship, we generally get between one and two dozen people at Evensong. Most regular are half a dozen choir members and a few regulars of the congregation, who come for the relaxed pleasure of praying this way through song. It's a serene end to a busy day for me.

Often we welcome visitors from other parts of the world - North Americans, Europeans, occasionally Asians. We've have visits from Japanese, Chinese, Pakistani and Indian Christians. Tonight a young woman from Mumbai joined us. She's recently arrived in Cardiff to join a growing number of graduate computer programmers who are being sent to support various corporate IT projects that have been set up by Indian software houses in the city.

Dilip, from Bangalore was one of the first. He arrived four years ago, stayed a year, returned later for several months to service the project, went home, then returned again as project supervisor, introducing one of his young Christian colleagues, who'd come over as part of her training. If not in business IT it's in medicine that the city is welcoming skilled young Indian professionals, enough of them Christian, not only for some to find their way to the City Parish Church, but for others to be putting out feelers about how to hire a place where they may meet to worship in their own language and cultural style, according to a senior councillor I spoke with a couple of months ago.

It's an interesting variant on the 'migrant' theme, especially when you consider that only 2.3% of the population of India is Christian. Percentage wise, that's only just a bit smaller than regular church attendance in the population of the UK nowadays.

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