Church of England launches Persian language Communion Service


The Church of England has launched a Persian language translation of Holy Communion to help growing numbers of Iranians in congregations who are learning English.

Authorised by the House of Bishops, the publication of the Farsi language service affirms the presence of Iranians in churches as a gift, and demonstrates commitment to welcoming them into the life of the Church of England.

The new liturgy is designed to be used alongside English language liturgy, with both languages printed side by side, enabling people to follow and participate in services.

At a special celebration service Wakefield Cathedral the Bishops of Loughborough, Bradford and Durham used the service wording for the first time.

Members of congregations from churches across England, including British, Iranian and other nationality Christians, attended the service which included the singing of hymn verses in English and Farsi alternately and prayers in both languages.

The Bishop of Loughborough, Guli Francis-Dehqani, who came to the UK from Iran with her family when she was just 14-years-old following the 1979 revolution, presided at the service and conveyed messages from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

Her father was the late Bishop Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, the first Persian Bishop in Iran, who was forced into exile after an attempt on his life and the murder of his only son.

Bishop Guli’s role within the Diocese of Leicester has a particular focus on encouraging and enabling the participation and ministry of BAME heritage people in  churches.

Speaking ahead of the service, she said: "This translated service of Holy Communion is hugely significant within the life of the Church of England as we seek to find ways of recognising the diversity which is increasingly the reality of the Church of England.

"We've had, over the last few years, over 75 clergy contact us to ask how can we best help to integrate the Iranians who we find are coming to our churches, so in this liturgy what we're doing is formally recognising a minority community as part of our wider body and crucially enabling Persian, Farsi speaking people and English speaking people to worship alongside one another."

Together with the Bishop of Bradford and Bishop of Durham, Bishop Guli holds a brief for supporting work with Persian Christians around the country. The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Toby Howarth helped her lead the service and the sermon was given by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler.

The service is now available on the Church of England website for wider use.