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Methodist Churches in England Using More Languages

September 27th, 2010
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Methodist churches in Britain using more and more languages
ENI-10-0652

(correcting headline and lead to note that it is not 90 languages spoken, but different languages at 89 churches)
By Trevor Grundy
London, 23 September (ENI)–Almost 90 Methodist churches in Britain conducted services in languages other than English and Welsh, one of the official languages in Wales, in 2009, the church has announced.

“All this reflects the multi-cultural nature of Britain in 2010,” the Rev. John Chambers, a minister at Walworth Methodist Church in London, told ENINews. “We have four fellowships in our church: Sierra Leone, Ghanaian, Zimbabwean and Nigerian.”

Chambers said that during the year, each fellowship holds its own service. “There will be readings in local languages, hymn singing in different languages, and now and again preachers from the countries concerned will address congregations. People come to the Methodist Church knowing that their ethnic traditions will be acknowledged.”

The media officer for Britain’s Methodist Church, Karen Burke, said that languages used at services include Afrikaans, Cantonese, Eritrean, Farsi, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Shona, Swahili, Urdu, and many others.

The church’s research officer, Christopher Stephens, said on 23 September, “We are collecting these statistics each year to get an accurate picture of who and what we are as a church in the 21st century.”

He explained, “The report will enable us to support local churches in their mission needs, and help congregations do the same. This report reveals that we are diverse and modern.”

With almost 241 000 members, the Methodist Church is one of the largest in Britain. It has 5237 churches in the U.K., and maintains worldwide links with other Methodist churches having a total of over 70 million worshippers. [267 words]

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