July 30 2014 Latest news:
Adam Barnett, Reporter
Monday, July 14, 2014
A Stratford church has welcomed a number of people from Bulgaria into the Church of England at a special ceremony.
More than 40 Bulgarians joined St Paul’s Church in Maryland Road as part of a growing national trend of immigrants from eastern Europe converting to Anglicanism.
The ceremony on June 29 saw 14 baptisms, 16 confirmations, and 28 people received into the church, with Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell conducting the confirmations.
Twenty more Bulgarians are expected to sign up shortly.
St Paul’s has also been holding Bulgarian language sessions to help welcome its newest members.
“There’s a lot of Bulgarians moving into Stratford, so we’ve sort of become a home church for them,” said Rev Jeremy Fraser of St Paul’s.
He said the Bulgarian converts used to be members of the Assembly of God, a sort of Pentecostal church, but decided to become Anglicans.
“I think they were looking for somewhere to be a base and they’ve settled in Stratford and London,” he said. “They think of themselves as Londoners
“They are a fantastic addition to our faith community.
“I hope they have received a warm welcome from us at the church.”
Rev Stephen added: “Our congregation already has people who grew up around here, and people who have come here from the West Indies, from Africa, from South America from other parts of Europe. Our pianist is Taiwanese from Canada.
“The kingdom of heaven will have all nations worshipping together we feel like we a foretaste of heaven.”
St Paul’s in Stratford had just 17 members in February 2013, but now its congregation has grown to more than 80.
For more information visit stratfordstpauls.com.