By Sam Gorlla, Santa Clarita Contributor
International Friendship Center held its 5th annual Christmas Celebration event last month on December 9th at the Newhall Community Center. The event, open to all, began with a rousing performance of traditional Indian Christmas carols by the Keerthana Group, directed by Sam Robinson. IFC President Dr. Jairaju Gorlla started the event off by welcoming the attendees and acknowledging IFC’s successful seven year history in the Santa Clarita Valley helping immigrants from the Indian subcontinent with adjusting to the United States.
Lenin Kancharla, Board Member and IFC Treasurer gave a short presentation detailing the organization’s work in the community and specific goals and events.
The Christmas story from the book of Luke was read by Akhila Kancharla, followed by the introduction of special guest, Santa Clarita Councilman and former mayor Bob Kellar.
The speakers at the event, Finney Premkumar, head of Truth Matters International, and Wilson Koppula, pastor of Calvary Indian Church in Manteca, were also introduced. The special guest and speakers were then honored with floral bouquets.
Bob Kellar recounted the strides Santa Clarita made in 2017 and showcased the numerous benefits the City has for those who immigrate to the U.S. After this, traditional English Christmas carols were presented by Cyril Gorlla, Director of New Media and IT, who also handled the tech for the event. Finney Premkumar then shared a Christmas message of hope and unity that encouraged attendees to reexamine their beliefs and be encouraged with the truth of Christmas. This message was followed by Dr. Koppula sharing the biblical basis of Christmas, exploring the historical account of the birth of Christ.
The event winded down with IFC’s future plans being announced, along with a word of thanks from Dr. Gorlla. “Joy to the World” was sung, followed by a closing prayer from IFC Board Member Art Dolder. President Dr. Gorlla said of the event, “International Friendship Center strives to strengthen diversity, harmony, and peace in the community, and our annual Christmas Banquet is a great example of how we do that.”
A delicious traditional Indian dinner was served by Karma Restaurant of Santa Clarita.