PICT1779On the last Saturday night before Christmas (18 December), a number of the local African churches joined together for a celebration of Christmas at the Grays Community Hall in Maidstone Road (right).

The event has come about as a result of the pastors of these churches linking up at a recent conference and deciding to do unite for a night of carols.

The evening had a whole host of items and the singing was provided by a choir created out of all the churches represented. Their gospel-styled renditions of old favourites was powerful and possessed a real sense of anointing.

PICT1784Transformation Thurrock’s Tim Harrold was invited to open the event with a prayer, and it was his privilege to do so. The evening was held together by Masters of Ceremony Femi Ibiwoye and James Ojo. There was a dance by the youth group from the Open Door Christian Centre and readings from the Bible.

Akin Laosun, pastor at Gates of Praise International Centre (GOPIC) spoke and led everyone in prayer. The Deputy Mayor, Cllr Babatunde Ojetola, also gave a speech in which he urged everyone to work in unity and to volunteer in the wider community to bring about transformation. Both Akin and Babatunde said generous and encouraging things about the work of Transformation Thurrock in supporting existing and creating opportunities for Christians’ unity.

PICT1785Pastor Segun Olureni led the appreciations, thanking all those involved in making the event happen, and a closing prayer was said by Abraham Bamgbose, pastor at Fruitful Land in Tilbury.

Sam Olumoyegun, pastor of Dayspring Chapel – which meets now in the Grays Community Hall – told Transformation Thurrock that this co-operation between churches is only the beginning, and that they’re already working on ideas for next Christmas!

This level of interchurch co-operation also bodes well for the challenges that the Lord is placing beofre us over 2011 and 2012 – two years which have the potential to be the most spiritually significant in the borough’s history – with the coming to Thurrock of Billy Graham’s grandson Will next September, and all the activities surrounding the Olympics, and GSUS Live returning the following autumn. The whole church of Thurrock is invited to join in surfing together in this unprecedented wave of opportunity coming our way!

PICT1783Also spotted at the Carol Service were pastors Matthew Aworeni of Ambassadors, Olu & Ola Olukoga of Spring of Life, Colin Baker of Grays Baptist Church, and Dennis & Celia Brockhurst of the North Stifford Family Church (left). Others involved were Sam & Joyce Sao, Victor Oladele, Andrew Olufayo and Funke Laosun.

Transformation Thurrock would like to thank the organisers for inviting us along and being part of a great evening.