Dr Ruwan Palapathwala Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: The first Anglican church in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) will be consecrated at the new church complex — which can accommodate up to 2,000 people at one time — in Al Jazeera Al Hamra on March 9.

Bishop Michael Lewis, Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, will facilitate the consecration and open the church and its facilities to the public.

The new church is built on a 5,600-square-metre land given by His Highness Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. It is the fifth and northernmost church under the Chaplaincy of Dubai and Sharjah.

"Across the UAE, we have several Anglican churches and all of them are built on land given by the Rulers of the UAE. The land the Rulers have given to the Anglican church where we could build our churches is an expression of their benevolence and at the same time an acknowledgement that Christians who work for the development of this country must have freedom to worship God," said Rev Dr Ruwan Palapathwala, senior chaplain of the Chaplaincy of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.

Better place

Church officials expressed their gratitude for the new church complex which will give them more space and better place to worship. "At present, we are using a rented place made of three portacabins. But they are insufficient and inconvenient," Rev Nelson Fernandez, chaplain of the St Luke's Church in RAK, told Gulf News.

"Acoustics [sound] problems [also] arise as the area is very small and the distance between one portacabin to the other is just around two metres," he added.

"There are other denominations, Protestant churches, which have no place to worship. The Anglican church will give them the opportunity to use the new church premises and facilities," Rev Dr Palapathwala said.

At present, more than 35 churches from various denominations use the St Luke's Church in RAK as their official place of worship.