A Methodist Church in Britain has begun a new era with the arrival of Rev. Ajay Singh?its first Indian minister.
Rev. Singh, 40, has taken over the running of the Swindon Church from Rev. Tony Barnes, who has left to take up a new role in Cirencester.
It is the first time that Rev. Singh has been to England, and although he was expecting English people to be reserved, he said he has already been struck by their warmth and friendliness.
But he admits that working in Swindon is going to be quite a challenge and he needs to boost numbers at the Church.
He said that when he first arrived in Swindon, he was surprised the congregations were not larger. ?One of my aims while here will be to increase the size of the congregation; not to just fill the Church but for them to accept God.?
Rev. Singh arrived in Britain on July 13 and for several weeks had to undertake a series of orientation courses to allow him to serve in a Methodist Church.
He has brought his family?wife Latika and daughters Shekinah (5) and Sharon (1)?with him.
?I have never been to England before or even Europe,? Rev. Singh said.
?I had always been led to believe that the English were very reserved and not particularly open but after my welcome service that whole idea was turned upside down.?
Rev. Singh will serve in the town for five years following an invitation to the Church of north India to send a minister to work in Swindon.
He was previously head priest at All Saints Cathedral in Allahabad that has been described as the finest Anglican cathedral in Asia.
Rev. Singh'swork would often take him to the 74 churches, 52 institutions and one Church hospital in the region.
?My work in India was a large task but my assignment here in Swindon is an even larger task in the eyes of the Lord.?
He said it was difficult being so far away from home.
?We are missing our family in India. I have six brothers and sisters back home.?
He added: ?England is a very beautiful and neat country and I am looking forward to travelling around. I am also keen on football and I plan to try and see a few matches.?