24 February 2011
South Asians taking their claim
Chances are if you're a Christian born in Britain after 1980 to South Asian parents, you might feel that you are the only one. After all, you don't fit into any mainstream category.
Right? Wrong, actually.
According to South Asian Forum, the number of young South Asian Christians is on the rise. So much so, that Naujavan, the UK's largest Asian youth ministry, has grown from strength to strength. Naujavan - which translates as 'youth' in Hindi - brings together Britain's growing population of South Asian Christians, aged 16-30, for friendship, fun, worship and teaching. The movement started as a one-off event at a church in Southampton in 1998 and has since become a regular fixture held three times a year at major cities across England.
Mike Pilavachi will be speaking at the next Naujavan celebration at 5pm on March 19 at Soul Survivor, in Watford, north London. Mike, a senior pastor at Soul Survivor, will be exploring to what extent we are defined by our religion, ethnicity, culture and profession from a biblical context.
Sanjay Rajo, co-leader of Naujavan, says that many young Asian people have experienced a mixed cultural upbringing, each with its own unique set of values, challenges and expressions.While some were raised in a Christian family, others were not. For each group, cultural identity can become an issue.
Sanjay adds: " I remember being at college and being asked 'what are you?' as my Asian mates tried to figure me out as I didn't fit into the categories that existed. Some people never fully understood how I could maintain my Asian culture and be a Christian at the same time. Meeting other like-minded British Asian Christians has taught me that my identity is in Christ and the freedom this affords is unparalleled."
Manoj Raithatha, National Coordinator of the South Asian Forum, added: "It's great that Naujavan is trying to relate to British South Asian Christians who are a minority within a minority. We hope that other churches will be inspired to do more to serve young people as they are, after all, our future leaders."
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