The monumental 10-year celebration of One People Commission (OPC) began with a time of collective worship and was then followed by a panel discussion. Together, OPC Director Rev Israel Olofinjana, Dr Tani Omideyi, Pastor Chrishanthy Sathyaraj, Steve Clifford and Bishop Wilton Powell shared the history of OPC and the vital importance in its aim to help UK evangelical churches grow intercultural church communities, advocate against racial injustice and unite with other denominations to ‘reflect the multi-ethnic kingdom of God’.

In 2022, the number of hate crimes recorded was 109,873 according to the Metropolitan Police. Over 8,700 of those hate crimes were religious ones. Pastor Chrishanthy called on all present to consider how it would look for us to be intentional, and pour our love out into our communities.

The 2023 Joel Edwards Award of Unity was then presented to Pastor Agu Irukwu (church ministry and leadership) and Dr Krish Kandiah, OBE (mission and social responsibility) before Rev Israel ended the evening by taking the guests on a brief journey of the present and future work of OPC

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A snapshot of the origin story of OPC

The idea for the OPC came in 2010, following a prophetic challenge at an Evangelical Alliance council meeting.

During the panel discussion, former general director, Steve Clifford, shared how a decade ago at a council meeting he had reflected, saying, Many, if not all of us, got onto our knees and began to pray, and there was a spirit of repentance in the group gathered there. It was a repentance for where we had gone, what we had missed, what we hadn’t got right, but there was also an aspiration that we could move on from this place and do something seriously. I came out of that council meeting with a sense that God had just spoken to us. As the general director, I felt it was important that we responded to it.”

As a result, the OPC began officially in 2013; aiming to help the Evangelical Alliance become more representative, and a wider voice for the many cultures found within the UK church.

In 2024, the OPC hopes to release new resources and continue collaboration with different church networks to empower churches to build an intercultural approach. In a positive step towards this, the newly appointed South Asian Forum co-ordinator, Rani Joshi, was introduced at the event, and an intercultural church resource by the OPC was shared – a video to equip and inspire those who want to grow an intercultural church in a multicultural context.

Our first event of the year, Intercultural Church & City Transformation roundtable conversation, will take place at the Gateway Church in Leeds in January. Other major upcoming OPC initiatives for 2024 include the publication of an edited Intercultural Theology’ book, a mentoring hub initiative for young adult leaders, research on attitudes and practices towards race in the UK evangelical church’ and the relaunch of the course, Discovering Jesus through South Asian Eyes’.

For more information about the upcoming initiatives of the OPC, please visit: eauk​.org/​w​h​a​t​-​w​e​-​d​o​/​n​e​t​w​o​r​k​s​/​o​n​e​-​p​e​o​p​l​e​-​c​o​m​m​i​ssion