The Nativity of our Lord is celebrated with great joy in the Christian communities in the State of Andhra Pradesh in South India. The birth of Jesus is always celebrated by cutting and distributing a special birthday cake at the principal Eucharist on Christmas Day. The Most Rev. Jaya Rao, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of South India and Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana reports that services and activities were well attended throughout the diocese in spite of the severe Covid-19 restrictions. Christmas is also a time when special attempts are made to reach out to those who are even less fortunate than most of the very poor people that make up the Diocese’s congregations. During this time members of the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity, together with Bishop Jaya Rao, visited the orphanage in Jammalamadaugu, Kadapa District to distribute gifts and clothing that had been collected by all the churches in the Diocese.
The following photographs show the church celebrations on Christmas Day at the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity where Bishop Jaya Rao is the Rector. Typically, selected children are invited forward to cut the cake at the appropriate time at the end of the service. There is also a photograph showing the visit to the orphanage, with several of the orphaned children, as well as officials from the orphanage, and some members of the Cathedral congregation who helped bring the gifts and clothing.
Other photos show two other churches during their Christmas celebrations; Fr. Joseph from Emmanuel Anglican Church in Peleru, Chittoor District, and Fr. Richard (Bishop Jaya Rao’s oldest son) who has established a church in Sullurpet, Nellore District.
The afternoon session was used to discuss plans for expanding the outreach of the church to other villages and districts as well as how to ensure the functioning of the churches during the continued Covid-19 restrictions. The day ended with Evening Prayer before the various clergy started back to their home districts and churches by bus, train, and motorcycle.
The following photographs show the clergy who attended as well as various other activities during the most productive day.