At Delhi’s St. James’ Church, peace and service drive festive spirit

One of the oldest churches in the city, it is gearing up for a grand Christmas celebration after two years

Published - December 25, 2023 12:50 am IST - New Delhi

The newly restored St. James’ Church in Kashmere Gate.

The newly restored St. James’ Church in Kashmere Gate. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

Apart from midnight carols and Holy communion for Christmas celebrations this year, the newly restored St. James’ Church at Kashmere Gate has been organising community service programmes and vigil prayers for the war-affected parts of the world.

The church, constructed in 1836 and one of the oldest in the city, is a major tourist attraction along with nearby heritage sites like the Red Fort and Jama Masjid. With the restoration work finished in August, it embarked on a grand Christmas celebration after over two years.

It planned several programmes that started on Advent — the festive period from December 3 — and will continue till the end of the year. These include community service at old age homes, orphanages, and homes for specially abled children such as Antodaya, St. Mary’s Home, and Kilkari Rainbow Home. Daily-use winter items like socks, gloves and blankets, as well as biscuits and cakes have also been distributed by parishioners.

“Christmas is all about justice, hope, peace, goodwill, love, and joy. As we celebrate the coming of the Lord to the world, we pray to restore all these,” said Rev. Jyoti Samuel Singh, a presbyter at the church.

She added that as part of the service intercession on Christmas day, the church will conduct ‘chain prayer vigils’ wishing for peace and harmony in countries like Palestine and Ukraine that have been torn by conflict.

Praying for the restoration of happiness, the church’s presbyter in-charge Rev. Pratik Pillai said, “While we have divided ourselves into different countries, Jesus considers us his children. The lack of peace in one nation is also an unrest to ours.”

Young members of the church’s Pastorate Youth Fellowship will conduct walks around the neighbourhood as part of the ‘Christmas with the Neighbourhood’ programme. “We share conversations along with good wishes, greetings, and some goodies with people on the streets who lack the means to celebrate the festival themselves,” said Devang Mehta, an advocate and the fellowship’s president.

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