Licensed with colour
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
FACED WITH an interregnum, the PCC of Wootton-by-Woodstock, Oxford
diocese, was delighted when the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd
Colin Fletcher, proposed that the Revd Anand Raj (centre), newly
arrived from the Church of South India to research for a doctorate at the
Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, should be licensed to officiate on Sundays.
The Revd Timothy Shepherd (right), a retired priest living in the
parish, says that, never having left India before, Mr Raj found the range of
English services daunting. So he was delighted when it was suggested that he
might share a little of the Indian Christian tradition with the people of
The church’s small music group began to practise Indian music, and at the
service the congregation was invited to sit in a circle in the empty chancel,
round the altar decked with unusual candles, flowers, and incense sticks. Mr
Raj wore colourful Indian robes, and led the singing with a tambourine and in
his own language.
A relevant passage from the Upanishads was read, and he then told the story
of how a Hindu Pandit found Christ through his Hindu scriptures. The
congregation sang the Indian words as best they could, and the service ended
with a rousing “Kum Ba Yah”, and an Indian blessing. Sharing in the event was
Cynthia Howard (left) from South Africa.