Twenty five years of blessings
Last Saturday the 11th of December 2010 has been a special occasion for the members of the Tamil Christian Congregation of Western Australia (TCC) as they celebrated their 25th carol service in Perth. The carol service was held at the Maylands-Mount Lawley Uniting Church at 5.30 pm.
The inaugural carol service as the Tamil Christian worship group, under the Tamil Association of Western Australia, was held in December 1986 at Bentley hall. A handful of Christian families and a few Hindu friends of the Tamil Association assisted in holding the first Carol service. Currently the TCC membership has around fifty families who have migrated from Sri Lanka, South India, Singapore and inter-state and who belong to all the denominations of the Christian faith including Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Methodist and Pentecostal churches. The TCC meet for worship on the first Sunday of each month at the Osborne Park Uniting Church.
The current President of the TCC Mr Michael Kirubarajan Richards thanked the Tamil Association for their initiative and help given to the Tamil Christians in the formation of a worship group. In his opening speech, he remarked that there was a necessity to have a Tamil worship group outside their homeland as many of the Tamils who migrated to Australia at that time were affected in the July 1983 civil riots in Sri Lanka.
The President also mentioned that his wish for the future would be that the younger generation of the Tamil Christians take over the reins of the TCC towards the fiftieth carol service, and thanked the Almighty for the blessings showered upon the Tamil migrants.
The Order of Service comprised the adult choir, youth instrumental medley, Sunday school children’s item, a solo by Mrs. Geetha Gunaratnam, prayers, Bible reading and a sermon. The Sermon was delivered by the Riverton Baptist church Pastor Colin Meadows. The music accompaniments for the carols were provided by the youth and the adults of TCC. Mr. Raman and Mr. Prabhakaran Samuel, two tireless non-members of the Association played the percussions and violin respectively, as they have done many times previously. The Service was well attended by about two hundred people including the members, Hindu and Australian friends of the Tamil Christian Congregation.
The Bible readings were taken from the book of Isiah chapter 9 and a Gospel reading. Pastor Colin Meadows delivered the message with a slide-show presentation of Bethlehem he visited few months ago. His message was informative with the parallel showing of the bible verses with the photos of the sites mentioned in the bible. The presentation started with a picture of Bethlehem, viewed from Jerusalem which is currently a part of the Palestine region. Bethlehem is situated approximately 9 kilometres south of Jerusalem. Then the slides moved on to the burial site where Rachel, Jacob’s wife, was buried at the birth of Benjamin which then followed on to show where Naomi and Ruth chose the place of Bethlehem and then on to the Nativity church where Jesus was born and a view of the place believed to be where the manger was. He also mentioned that this was the longest functioning church in the world from the 4th century.
The church remains untouched even today and Christians still continue their worship there. The church is currently shared by three denominations of Christians. The presentation concluded with a picture named the "door of humility" at the church, which is the entrance to the Nativity church.
The door has been purposely made smaller to avoid the soldiers entering the church in the early years of the church history. The entrance door was so small and one has to kneel down to enter the church hence the message "humility". The service concluded with the Benediction delivered by Pastor Meadows.
At the end of the service, the president asked the congregation to join the members for a fellowship at the church hall. At the fellowship, the President invited the senior members of the TCC Messrs Stanley Sinnadurai and R Vijayasekaran to cut the 25th Carol service Cake. Mr Stanley Sinnadurai and Mr R Vijayasekaran and the late Mr N S Rathinasingham had been the steering committee members of the then Tamil Christian worship group of the late eighties until it became an independent body of Tamil Christian Congregation of WA in 1991.
As the modest celebrations of the congregation mark the landmark of a quarter of a century in Western Australia, it was also notable that there were a handful of Tamil refugees who arrived at the shores of Australia recently to start their new lives also joined the TCC in its celebrations. (Photos by Alfie & Daniel Jebakumar)
For unto us a child is born,
To us a son is given,
And the government will be on his shoulders
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace - (Isaiah 9:6)