178-year-old UP church prepares for Christmas celebrations
The 178-year-old Emmanuel Church is being readied for Christmas celebrations on Sunday after two years of lull when the festivities were muted due to the coronavirus pandemic
The furniture and walls are being given a fresh coat of paint. A Christmas tree decorated with balloons, stars, bells and cutouts of Santa has been put in the main hall, and the approach path decorated with colourful lights.
The 178-year-old Emmanuel Church is being readied for Christmas celebrations on Sunday after two years of lull when the festivities were muted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The patrons have already started sprucing up the historic church and singing carols.
Every year the patrons of the Emmanuel Church, located on the Mission compound, gather to celebrate the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ on December 25. The members of the church start singing carols from around a fortnight before this.
On Thursday evening, one such Christmas carol group headed by Church's pastor Suresh Masih went from house-to-house, singing carols.
It is believed, he said, the carols were first sung by Shepherds after they got the news about the birth of Jesus Christ from angels.
Talking about the church, Masih said, its foundation was laid in 1844 by Father Mathew William who was sent to Mirzapur by the London-based Boston Missionary society.
The work was later completed with support of Bible missionary society.
The church is built in the ancient gothic style, which was prevalent in Europe from the late 12th to the 16th century, and is painted in red and white. The followers gather at the church on Christmas and it continues to remain the center of faith for locals.
"The Church is being spruced up for Christmas. The furniture and walls are being painted. We have put up a Christmas tree in the main hall of the church and decorated it with balloons, stars, bells and cutouts of Santa," said the pastor.
Apart from beautifying the indoors, the church has also been painted from outside. The church management has decorated the building and the approach path with lights. The makeover has been going on since the last month," the pastor said.
He, however, said the main sitting area and thestructure of the church has not been altered at all.
Besides the members of Christian community, locals also participate in various activities at the Church.
"Carol singing is mostly done by christian families but people from other communities are also welcomed. The carol singing group that moves from house-to-house is offered tea and cake," Rajeev Cyclus, the former municipality head, told PTI.
On the eve of Christmas, a bonfire is held at the church and people gather for morning assembly. People from nearby districts also visit the church to celebrate Christmas, said the pastor.
"We will also have an exhibition on the life of Jesus Christ on Christmas day where important movements of His life will be displayed along with a sports event for children," he added.
In view of the crowd expected on Christmas day, the district authorities have also made necessary security arrangements.
"Additional police force will be deployed near the church on the day of Christmas to ensure law and order and managing movement of traffic," said Additional SP Shrikant Parajapati.