The South Asian Forum, part of the Evangelical Alliance, exists for two main reasons, explains Dayalan Mahesan, SAF’s National Co-ordinator.
“The first is to support, help coordinate and profile the valuable work of the growing South Asian church within the UK. Secondly, to help the UK-wide church more confidently and effectively engage with South Asians of other faiths through teaching, resources and connections within our network.”
Despite the challenges of all the restrictions, this has been a year of establishing and consolidating new and existing partnerships and initiatives with other ministry partners (including South Asian Concern) as well as individuals interested in working together closely. Many of the South Asian churches in the UK were directly affected by the devastation of the pandemic in South Asia.
A major focus is supporting those who reach out to the 1 million-strong Hindu community in the UK. We have established a steering group with other ministries and individuals who have a heart to engage with Hindus. We pray together online as a group on the 1st Friday of each month. This is part of the worldwide ‘Hethne’ ministry supported by the World Evangelical Alliance. One of the projects we support is a series of animation videos explaining the gospel in language that is familiar to Hindus. 3 of the 7 videos have been released on YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCfyJ0Y-loU4XtlIg6nR9IfA
We were also delighted to support the recent 15 Days Prayer for the Hindu World. In 2022 we aim to hold prayer events, roundtables and produce new resources.
Our South Asian Forum Leaders Network has been meeting more regularly through the pandemic, albeit online, with new leaders joining regularly and getting connected within the network. Leaders have benefitted from this network by finding other leaders to partner with, for example bringing in fellow leaders for speaking engagements, teaching the youth in their church and working together on new initiatives. We plan to meet in person in February 2022 to have a time of teaching, connecting, prayer and ministry.
In 2021, we established the South Asian Forum Regional Champions, a group of individuals across the UK (12 so far) who act as points of contact for other South Asian Christians as well as those who want to reach South Asians of other faiths. They come from a range of backgrounds, including pastors, ministry trainees, business people, an accountant and a local Councillor (1 of only 4 Pakistani background Councillors in the UK). Use this link to connect to any of them directly: www.eauk.org/what-we-do/networks/south-asian-forum/saf-champions.
In 2022, we look to work even closer with the vital work of the One People Commission within the Evangelical Alliance, seeking to help South Asian church leaders increase their voice, particularly in the areas of diversity in churches, racial justice and intercultural church planting.
Please keep our work in prayer so that it can be more effective in 2022!
For more information please visit: eauk.org/saf or email Dayalan Mahesan on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dayalan Mahesan, National Coordinator, is based in the Evangelical Alliance offices in Kings Cross and would love to invite you in for a coffee or a chai! (176 Copenhagen Street, London N1 0ST)