| Apr 16, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - April 16, 2009 Harrowsmith church hosts its first Passover Sederby Julie Druker

Karl de Souza, a missionary of Jews for Jesus Canada, leads a Passover Seder at the Free Methodist Church in Harrowsmith

On April 9, the sanctuary of the Free Methodist Church in Harrowsmith filled up as members of various congregations and guests gathered to participate in a Passover Seder led by Karl de Souza, a missionary for Jews for Jesus Canada.

De Souza performed the Seder reading from a Passover Haggadah, which included Hebrew prayers along with the many rituals that occur during a Jewish Passover meal. Guests sat at tables that were laden with the traditional food dishes that symbolize the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt.

Throughout the Seder, participants were invited to eat and drink at various times and also to respond to the leader by reading in unison from the Passover Haggadah.

For many in the sanctuary, like John Kirkham from Sydenham, it was their first experience of any kind of Passover Seder. He enjoyed the Seder.

“This was a deeper explanation than what I have known,” he said.

Asked how he feels now knowing more about the Jewish Passover he said “I feel more in sympathy with the Jewish people themselves and the different way in which they see Jesus”.

While it is not the first time that the Jews for Jesus organization has spoken to the congregation at the church about the history and meaning of the Jewish Passover, it was the first time that the church has hosted a Seder at their church.

Pastor Will Keller thought it would be a nice idea to invite de Souza to perform the Seder in conjunction with Easter so that people could experience it hands on. He explained, “I think it’s a reaffirmation of how the Jewish Passover, what we observe as the Lord’s Supper, was instituted. It's important to see how communion is more that just what we learn from Jesus, how it has a heritage that goes way back with the Jews celebrating their release from slavery in Egypt.” He added, “It’s a great way for a congregation to start the Easter season.”

Karl de Souza, a missionary of Jews for Jesus Canada is Jewish. He was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to Montreal when he was four years old. His mother is Jewish and his father was Catholic.

He came to know Jesus as his Messiah when he was 22 years old at his last year at Concordia University.

De Souza, who led the Seder, performs this service regularly in churches during this time of the year. He explained, “It ties the Old and the New Testaments together and it explains very clearly the origin of the communion service”.

Asked how he defines himself, de Souza explained, “ I am Jewish. I can say I’m a Jew for Jesus as well. There are also messianic Jews, Jews who believe in the Messiah, or Jewish Christians and so I’m comfortable with any of those names. For me they are synonymous.”

As a missionary, de Souza sees his role as “going out and sharing the gospel with my Jewish people”.

Pastor Will was pleased with the turnout for the Seder and said, “We weren’t really sure how it would go over but it looks as though we set up enough seats and almost might have needed more. I think we’ll definitely do it again”.

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