CHENNAI: All Christmas festivities were called off at the Madras Diocese of Churches of South India (CSI) due to the floods. A communique to this effect will be issued to all the pastorates and congregations in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Puducherry, and Chithoor, according to the Madras diocesan secretary Reverand Samuel Jacob.
Speaking to City Express, Samuel Jacob said he spoke to the CSI moderator and bishop-in-charge of the Madras Diocese and the latter advised him not to conduct grand celebrations during Christmas, but to conduct the Christmas worship alone.
“We would express our solidarity with the people rather than spending on the celebrations. That money will be diverted to the relief work we are doing in the flood-affected areas. Our dioceses in the state are also sending relief materials through us,” he said.
CSI Christ Church (Ambattur) secretary R Sam Paul Prabhakar said that they called off the carol rounds at their church soon after they heard of casualties from the flood. “We have decided against conducting ‘ecumenical carols’ this year. We have informed the Catholic Church, with whom we had been partnering to conduct the carols about this. During the flood relief work, we’ve been meeting members and pastors of other churches, who are also considering whether to call off all festivities or not,” he said.
Most churches have cancelled Christmas carols and celebrations this year due to the floods in Chennai. Every year, the Christmas mood and celebrations begin with carols from December 1, but this year, it got buried in the deluge, say church committee members.
W Thobias Arul, secretary of pastorate committee, Arulnathar Lutheran Church in Kilpauk, says, “We used to visit around 600 families during our Christmas carols, but this year we cannot do it because of the rains and floods.”
Most star hotels in the city begin their celebrations with a cake mixing event, but the usual buzz is missing this year. Meanwhile, the Christmas decorations at most of the city’s malls failed to draw the desired attention during the floods.