For the first time in three years a collaborative Christmas Concert organised by the churches of Ilford is to take place in Ilford Town Centre. The event that was driven by the passion of Pastor Andrew Willis of Ilford High Road whose desire for a joining-up of local churches during one of the most important Christian events in the calendar, led him to have a discussion with Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association and chief organiser of Redbridge Easter Parade.
The two of them set a date for the event for the 16th December, which is the penultimate Saturday before Christmas and they set about making the event come to fruition.
With the help of Simon Standen who is employed as Outreach Officer at High Road Baptist Church, they set about contacting local churches to share with them in preparing the event. Several churches immediately agreed to partner for the event and offered performances, volunteers and the necessary finance to put on a concert. Participating churches include:
Ilford High Road Baptist Church
Redeemed Christian Church of God (Liberty Church)
Clementswood Baptist Church
Cranbrook Baptist Church
Eden Christian Centre (Formerly known as Ilford Apostolic Church)
Ilford Asian Church (Congregation meets at St Andrews Church)
British Pakistani Christian Association
The event received approval from Redbridge Council last week and actual details are as follows:
Event Title: The Promise
Date: 16th December 2017
Location: Ilford Town Hall Steps
Time: 1pm – 3pm
Activities: Christian music concert and live Nativity drama
The council have thus far refused to allow local churches to include; a free bouncy castle for children, free children’s art workshop, free face-painting, prayer tent and free book store, however organiser are still trying to convince them that it will be possible despite the commercial market that will also be in the town centre at the same time.
Pastor Andrew Willis, said:
“Prior to coming to High Road I was a pastor in Teddington, and Brixham. During my previous tenures I worked collaboratively on similar events with diverse Christian churches in the respective cities I worked in.
“It was amazing to see the great passion that arose among local churches as so many chose to collaborate in this fashion, moreover a few churches who cannot join us this year have already agreed to support the event next year. This Christmas event will showcase the wonderful diversity in God’s churches and what better time to share such joyous celebration then at at Christmas time.
“This event is a small start to what will one day be a grand celebration of Christs birth in our town centre. His birth brought new hope to the world and his legacy is still changing lives today. We hope retelling his story on the town hall steps will bring more people to the knowledge that Christ’s love and his sacrifice can gift them with eternal life and turn their sadness into great joy.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“Bringing so many diverse churches together at a busy time like Christmas is a testament of the unity held amongst Christians especially here in Redbridge. The concert will involve different languages and many different genres of music with a Gospel theme – ensuring there will something to be enjoyed by everyone.
“We named the event ‘The Promise’ because Christs life and death was a fulfilment of prophecy or a promise from God that changed the trajectory of the world.
“Though the date set for Christmas is not the actual date of Christ’s birth it is a date used by Christians to remember that important moment he came from the perfection of heaven to a world of vulnerability and pain. Holding this concert and the many Church services and activities during this time of year bring honour to that great sacrifice.”
Images from Redbridge Christmas Festival 2014