Christmas is appropriate time to recall God’s Message of Love, Peace, Harmony and Sharing and it is gratifying that a number of groups and individuals have been involved in this noble exercise in New Zealand.
The Indian Christian community has been in the forefront of community service, creating new avenues of goodwill and understanding, adding value to our multicultural society.
The Immanuel Worship Community (IWC) is foremost among them, with its members engaged in promoting programmes for the younger members of the community for more than ten years. Their spirit of unity and penchant for service has been inimitable and laudable.
The Assembly, which has been gathering for the past ten years, became an official entity on October 10, 2010 at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre located at Eden Terrace in Central Auckland.
Since then, the Church, which meets in Mt Albert, has not only been a place for peace and prayer, but also for community and social service. Its members have been meeting at the YMCA in Mt Albert (located at 773 New North Road) for the past four years.
Hanoku Bathula, an academic, who has been associated with the Immanuel Christian Community, said that the Church welcomes people of all ethnic groups, although its focus is on the Indian community.
“We preach the importance of belief, prayer and social and community service. More than a third of the people who attend our prayer meetings and other events are of different faiths. They come to spend time with us as we want to show our love and help them. Having experienced the difficulties as migrants earlier, our Church members understand and want to help new migrants,” he said.
The IWC Model
Mr Bathula said that IWC is a non-denominational, multicultural, family-friend Church based on the Principles of the New Testament (Acts 2:42, 11-13).
“Our Motto is to Connect, Grow, Serve and Go,” he said.
“Filled with Love and sense of Mission, Jesus made it a point to stop by Samaria and engage in dialogue with a rejected and confused Samaritan woman. Her history was filled with pain and brokenness, but Jesus refused to judge her as others had done.
“Why not? Because, He knew her full story of shame and rejection. On top of being a Samaritan and a woman, by the time Jesus found her, she had been abandoned five times by five husbands. Love had evaded her all her life. The living water she needed most was love. But where would she find such water? Nowhere. It had to find her.
“Jesus saw the whole person and loved the whole person. The world says that love is blind. Jesus shows us that love does not see less but more.
“And acceptance is the door through which transformation begins.
“The main purpose of IWC is to target and reach those that are often easily missed by other most established Churches.”
Mr Bathula said that the activities of IWC encompass several areas.
The Church conducts a Fellowship Forum every Sunday with a light meal.
“Our Church is truly a Fellowship of likeminded people. We do have any hierarchy, but our members take individual responsibility for different roles and support each other. We preach and practice the Love of Christ who gave it freely to us. We do not have any sponsors and we do not ask money from anyone. We are on our own.
IWC celebrate Community Christmas every year with a gathering of about 150 people. Most of them are non-Christians as it is about Christmas with the local community,” he said. The event this year will be held on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 6 pm at Blockhouse Bay Community Centre, Blockhouse Bay.
IWC could bring about a significant change in your life. You should erase everything you know about God that you may have learned from Church, other Christians, Christian culture, culture in general, movies, songs, and T-shirts.
It is a genuine endeavour to fill that blank slate with rich biblical truth, with what is actually in the Bible and what it actually says about God. People are too often unaware of how God actually is and how He loves.
- IWC meetings cover a wide range of subjects
- Children learn many thanks at IWC