Dubai: Holy Trinity Church in Oud Metha, which is celebrating its golden jubilee this year, has been a strong witness to the religious tolerance of the UAE and vitality of Christianity in the country.
From a humble a beginning on March 12, 1970, when the foundation stone of the church was laid by late Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum (then Ruler of Dubai) on a piece of land he donated, Holy Trinity Church has now grown to become a place of worship hosting 90 different Protestant churches from at least 12 Christian denominations.
Every week, around 20,000 worshippers attend various services conducted in 21 different languages, including Arabic, English, Hindi, Filipino, Urdu, Mandarin, French, Korean and other languages.
The house of worship is run by Anglican Church but it is also home to Orthodox, Coptic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and other independent churches.
“This inter-denominational and communal spirit is what has made the church grow into what it is now,” Rev. Harrison Chinnakumar, 54, Chaplain of Holy Trinity Church, told Gulf News in an interview on Tuesday.
“We are a place of prayer, where all Christians are welcome. We also do volunteer work to help the poor and needy in the best ways we can. Moreover, we are grateful to the UAE leaders for their wisdom and practice of religious tolerance,” he added
Chinnakumar, who is originally from India, said the church was built out of passion of the Christian community to have permanent church of their own.
Prior to 1969, when Shaikh Rashid made the donation, early expat Christians held services at the various residences and even in the courtroom at the British Agency building, which is currently the British Embassy.
Chaplains conducted the services but mostly lay people supervised the prayer meetings with assistance from the visiting British Army and Royal Air Force chaplains stationed in Sharjah.
“As the Christian community grew, Shaikh Rashid made the kind gesture to give them their own permanent place of worship,” Chinnakumar.
“The early church members then conducted several fund raising projects, including donating blood to raise the money to help build the church,” he added
The original chapel, which still stands to this day, was officially dedicated December 13, 1970. Afterwards, five chapels were added in 1983.
Another block of five chapels were erected in 1985 and seven more in 1989. The latest addition of three chapels were finished in 2005, bringing the current number of chapels to 25 plus the main church.
“Holy Trinity Church in Oud Metha has been a strong witness to the religious tolerance of the UAE and vitality of Christianity in the country. The uniqueness of Holy Trinity is the people who represent different denominations, traditions and backgrounds. Holy Trinity is a caring and praying community that welcomes everyone with a sincere heart,” Chinnakumar said.
”For the next 50 years, we will continue to serve the people and if the government provides some more space, then we will be happy to accommodate more churchgoers.”
“As we celebrate our golden jubilee, we also want to wish the very best for the country and we pray that God may grant wisdom to the rulers of the UAE,” Chinnakumar concluded.
Celebrations at Dubai Opera
Holy Trinity Church celebrates 50 glorious years through Musica Gloria on February 20 at the Dubai Opera. The event is an ensemble of choral performances in six languages culminating in a spectacular finale comprising of over 250 voices and musicians