Introduction to the South Asian Forum

Photo taken by: Nishi Sharma, Interserve

Established in 2010, the South Asian Forum is an independent grouping within the Evangelical Alliance with its own officers and steering group of 10 church leaders headed by Ram Gidoomal and managed by the national co-ordinator Manoj Raithatha.

The steering group believes that God desires to use the forum to respond to the need to bridge cultural divides by connecting, uniting and representing British South Asian Christians both in the UK church and the multicultural communities that they serve.

It is also mindful of the pressures on Christians in South Asia, through persecution and the oppression of minorities and wants to provide an effective lobbying voice and forum for justice for all such people.

Vision

It is estimated that out of the three million and rising South Asians living in the UK, only 75,000 are followers of Jesus which presents both a great need and an incredible opportunity to share the gospel message.

The heart of the South Asian Forum is to enable more South Asians in the United Kingdom to personally discover Jesus Christ. We do this by connecting and uniting all those who are involved in mission to the South Asian disapora and involvement in advocacy work on behalf of South Asian Christians in the UK and overseas.


Ram Gidoomal

Ram Gidoomal

Ram Gidoomal CBE, well known philanthropist, writer and award winning businessman, initiated the
establishment of the South Asian Forum. As well as chairing the Forum Ram is also Chair of Traidcraft, Chair of the Lausanne Movement International Board and Chair of the mission organisation South Asian Concern. Past roles include UK Chief Executive of the Inlaks Group, Crown appointee to the Court and Council of Imperial College London and founder of the Christmas Cracker Charity which raised over six million pounds, engaged upwards of 50,000 young people in the process and mobilised many of them for world mission.

He was a candidate for London Mayor for the Christian Peoples Alliance in 2000 and 2004 gaining nearly 100,000 votes in each election.

He says:

I am excited by what God is doing among South Asians in the UK. New churches and fellowships are being formed and many are coming to know and follow Jesus. South Asian Forum’s vision is to help Asian leaders grow together, supporting and praying for one another, and working with the wider church to reach the Asian community for Christ and serve the whole nation. We want to unite organisations fighting for religious liberty so that together we can have a stronger voice to government, media and the wider church.

Manoj Raithatha

Manoj Raithatha

Manoj Raithatha, award-winning playwright, business man and book publisher is from a Hindu background and came to faith in Jesus Christ after the miraculous healing of his son through the prayers of acquaintances who were church members.

He says:

We want to draw people, especially South Asians, to the knowledge and love of Jesus, so they can live joyful and purpose driven lives in relationship with the Lord our God. We all have a part in this. We want to build relationships with leaders across Asian and non-Asian churches, and to win the support of churches throughout the country, so we can work collectively to encourage and equip each other for mission. We are keen to support existing networks by helping with media links and wider connections.


Connecting and representing

SAF supports and enhances the work of its members by:

  • bringing them together for events including regional and national prayer days and other gatherings;
  • providing information and contacts including mailings and directory of ministries;
  • helping with media links, publicity and wider connections, especially through the Evangelical Alliance’s resources;
  • representing its members’ concerns to Government, media and the wider church, using the resources of the Evangelical Alliance and other specialist
    agencies including Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Release International etc.;
  • catalysing new initiatives and joint programmes such as the ‘Discovering Jesus through Asian Eyes’ course, booklets and resources;
  • providing theological reflection and resources on key issues, through its connections including the SAF quarterly newsletter and regular email updates.

Uniting

Peter Walker, National Director of The Leprosy Mission England and Wales at the launch of ‘Discovering Jesus through Asian Eyes’

Peter Walker, National Director of The Leprosy Mission at the launch of ‘Discovering Jesus through Asian Eyes’

SAF encourages its members to:

  • work in unity with and encourage other SAF members to use their distinctive ministries and calling for the glory of God and for a more effective fulfilment of our joint mission, particularly among South Asians in the UK;
  • pray for the SAF vision;
  • share concerns they would like represented to Government, the media and the wider church;
  • utilise the information and resources it provides;
  • inform SAF of their ministries and programmes (in order to receive prayer support and appropriate publicity);
  • share resources and co-operate with other SAF members;
  • attend SAF organised joint gatherings and programmes.