An expert in Asian Christian Ministry and Cross Cultural mission has
been appointed to a parish in the Blackburn Diocese after pioneering
initiatives in Bradford. Canon Dr Arun John will be priest in charge of
St James, Blackburn and St Stephen’s Harwood after seven years in
the Bradford Diocese.
Services in Urdu that he began there surprised him by
attracting South Asian Christians from all over the North of England.
These Christians ‘are one of the most neglected minority ethnic
communities,’ he said.
‘They’re often ostracised by the Muslim and Hindu
communities from which they came, and yet their white neighbours
confuse them as Muslims or Hindus, so they feel they belong
nowhere.’ He is continuing research that ‘aims to raise their profile
and to encourage them to integrate with the wider Christian
community with more confidence.’
Dr John, from North India, was an Archdeacon in
Johannesburg when Bishop David James invited him to Bradford in
2004. Initiatives he launched in Yorkshire included drawing together
local organisations, faith groups and projects to learn about. and
engage in, each other’s work. The Sharakat (Communion) project is
owned by a Muslim Trust and local Christan churches.
Dr John also launched a ‘goodwill gathering’ at the Hindu
Cultural Society, enjoyed strong friendships among the staff of the
Council of Mosques, and welcomed ecumenical support from the
Bradford District Faiths Forum