The Punjabi congregation meets for worship at 3 pm on Sundays. The congregation is overseen by Mr Afzal Gill and our minister, Rev Miriam Moul. Afzal is the son of Rev Das Gill who started the Punjabi congregation at Cowley Road Methodist Church in the late 1960s who was based at RAF Abingdon at the time.
Catering for the Indian population in East Oxford and the wider area, our Punjabi services include a short sermon, usually in English, which is then translated into Punjabi. There is lots of music in the Indian style. Services are usually followed by tea, or on special occasions, a full meal.
When it started, 80% of the Indian population in Oxford come for the Punjabi worship. In those days, children from the Punjabi and English congregations joined together for Sunday School.
When the congregation first started, Das was one of the few Punjabi ministers in the area. Many worshippers came to the church who had converted to Christianity in India and it was a very ecumenical congregation. Slowly, groups of Christians from the church who were familiar with different styles of worship broke away to set up new churches in the denominations which they were more familiar with. It’s thought that at least eight Punjabi churches in Oxford were planted by our community here.
When there’s a funeral or wedding in the Punjabi community, and at Easter and Christmas, everyone from those days and their families all come back together to worship and share food. There is often more than 150 people who come, and the service has to be relayed downstairs to make sure everyone can fit in.
- Cowley Road
- OX4 1BN