Youth Councillor Hannah Chowdhry with the Nativity scene in Ilford town centre. East London. (18-12-2018)
Hannah Chowdhry a recently elected Youth councillor for the district of Epping and nominee for Redbridge Youth Council installed a nativity scene before the Borough Christmas tree in Ilford town centre. As part of her Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award she is once again volunteering with British Pakistani Christian Association with whom she reintroduced the nativity to our town centre celebrations last year after a 21 year absence. To read more and see the photo credit form the Guardian (click here)
For the second year after a 21 year break, Redbridge Town Hall is the site of a nativity scene sponsored by the local community.
Last year BPCA launched a campaign Council to Bring Back Baby Jesus (click here)
The fiberglass creche scene was successfully installed after an ardent appeal was made by people of various diversities to present the real meaning of Christmas. (click here)
This year the display was given a more visible location because of other events scheduled on the previous site. The real story of Christmas remains lit up under the lights of the Town Hall and if there are any issues with security BPCA will replace them.
Hannah Chowdhry, said:
‘The nativity reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.
‘The birth of Christ was a turning point for humanity.
‘It split history into two and was the beginning of God’s new covenant with mankind.
‘Most Importantly God was with us on earth.
‘While presents and meals with our families are times of great joy.
‘The birth of Christ gave us new hope.
‘I hope the figurines in the town centre will now inspire young children to learn more about baby Jesus, and his legacy for the world.”
Wilson Chowdhry said:
“Hannah and I petitioned the council for permission for the nativity last year because of the huge groundswell of support. The Nativity was funded through a local appeal and donors that included Hindus and Muslims. Not just BPCA but many churches also contributed to the appeal.
“We normally would leave it out over the entire holiday season and remove the nativity on the first day back to school.
“I primary aim when installing the monument is to inspire an understanding of the true meaning of Christmas. In particular local children are reminded of the birth of a child who changed the world and brought hope to the rest of mankind.
“The fact that God was on earth with us is an example of his agape (unconditional) love for us. A truly inspiring event that fashioned our free democracies in the west. If nothing else it provides local children with a warm memory that we hope will trigger introspection and desire to do good in later years.
“The fact that Jesus had to seek asylum as many wanted him dead, reminds us all of how we should be open to offer help to others. Moreover, while being counted for a census Joseph, Mary and Jesus were made temporarily homeless and the kindness offered to them should trigger similar passion in us all.
“So the symbol of the nativity is a pressing message to all of us, irrespective of our backgrounds to offer care and support to the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Nativity scenes have been a part of British cultural heritage and create a space for interfaith dialogue in the public sphere. The Christian doctrine Virgin Birth is a theological point that is often misunderstood in Islamic creeds and this misunderstanding of how Christians believe the conception of Jesus occurred can contribute to feelings of disgust that should be addressed in order to promote community cohesion. While it is taught as a straightforward miracle in Islam, their understanding of what Christians believe is different.
Public platforms such as these allow the truth to come out in a non-confrontational way by allowing a platform to tell the simple, and plainly told story of Jesus birth without a lot of additional arguments or agendas. In fact the miracle of the Virgin Birth is recognised in both Christianity and in Islam in a similar fashion, and clearing up misunderstandings about this is beneficial to the greater community.
The reminder of Jesus birth highlights the fact Christ came into an imperfect world that did not seem entirely ready to welcome Him. We at BPCA hope that peace and joy of Christ will find a home with you this Christmas.
British Pakistani Christian Association has committed to the upkeep of the nativity and if you would like to contribute to this effort to keep Christ in Christmas please (click here)