Adaptability – St Johns Church, Southall, West London
"Southall is just the most vibrant, diverse community in West London. It’s multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and... St John’s has always been at the heart of the community, serving people from all different faith backgrounds”.
Nandini is from Mumbai, India, and came to the UK 30 years ago. Although brough up in a strict Hindu family, she became a Christian, and says that “when Jesus came into my life, he changed everything”. Nandini started off helping at a coffee morning at St John’s Church, and has volunteered in many of the church’s projects, including the Messy Church, and Table Gatherings for parents of children from many different faith backgrounds.
Reverend Dr Anna Poulson describes the importance of their church to be adaptable to anyone who might walk through their doors: “being an intercultural community… we believe very much that, if the vision is an intercultural vision that we’re aiming for in the Kingdom one day, we want to try to model that here… so, learning to love one another from different backgrounds and different ages is really the starting place and I think that love for one another and connecting to the love for Jesus through that is really significant”.
By including people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, Nadini has been able to “grow into her discipleship, and now… she’s really regarded as an elder”. For churches into today’s multicultural, multiethnic society, it’s “not about assimilation, ‘come and join us’. No, it’s come and be who you are, and we want to change to adapt to who you are and the wonderful gifts that you bring to the table”.