January 12, 2014
While world events play out around the globe, it can be hard to fully grasp the role that religion plays. One local church is helping people better understand the world around them, but not exclusively through Christianity. “Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church if you’re visiting. This is our Tour of Islam,” said Adult Formation Leader at Christ Episcopal Church Charles Crawley. Islam is one of the world’s largest religions, accounting for about 20 % of the earth’s population. But, “people are just trying to understand what it is, because we just don’t have a good basic understanding,” said Crawley.
Kirkwood Professor of Religion Dr. Peter Jauhiainen says people often narrowly define the religion. “That provides a distorted understanding of what it’s all about,” said Dr. Jauhiainen. So Christ Episcopal Church organized its Tour of Islam. The idea is to help people of all faiths have a better understanding of world events and other religions. “We, it seems to me, operate on rumors, on information from people who don’t have a complete understanding,” said Doug Anderson.
Those misconceptions can easily affect how we understand the world around us, both past and present. “The other thing I remember from ’73 is the Arab Oil Embargo. Most of us are old enough to remember 25-cent gas,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
Organizers say knowing more about our surroundings often leads to knowing more about other people, but simple tolerance isn’t enough. “Tolerance is lower on the diversity scale if you want to speak that way. But to move to acceptance, approval and affirmation of people that are different than us,” said Crawley. “I’m more concerned about understanding broad ideas and movements and changing attitudes, that’s more important,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
CBS Iowa: http://www.cbs2iowa.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/church-dialogue-islam-24459.shtml
18 March 2013
A Scottish Episcopal Church in Aberdeen is now open for members of the local Muslim community to pray alongside Christians, a decision that has been hailed as an unprecedented example of inter-faith cooperation in the United Kingdom. Rev. Isaac Poobalan, rector of St. John’s Church in Aberdeen, made the decision to allow more than 100 Muslims to pray in portions of his church after witnessing dozens of Muslims praying outside of the nearby Syed Shah Mustafa Jame Masjid mosque due to overcrowding. Regarding his decision, Rev. Poobalan said, “Religion does not play a role when it comes to friendship and hospitality.”
Though similar arrangements have been made in the United States, this is thought to be the first time that an active church in the UK has been used as a place for Muslim worship. Said a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, “I’ve never heard of this before, of any other case where active churches are also used as mosques.”
Some 2,200 guests filled the Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday morning for the inaugural prayer service, a tradition as old as the country itself.The service is meant to provide a spiritual boost to the newly sworn-in president. Prominent national clergy — from the Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh traditions — will offer prayers to Obama, who is accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and Jill Biden.“The reason we come together to pray is because we want the best for our country,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of the Washington Catholic archdiocese, as he entered the cathedral early Tuesday. “We pray for our president, we pray for our vice president. We pray for our leaders as we move forward.”Among those participating in the service at the cathedral are: Wuerl; the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America and leader of the Sterling mega-mosque All Dulles Area Muslim Society; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of rabbis from Judaism’s Conservative movement; and the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Former Episcopal minister Ann Holmes Redding has been ordained in the Episcopal Church for nearly 30 years, but her ordainment came to an end when she was defrocked this week.
According to a report, Redding has been both a practicing Christian and Muslim for the past three years. “Had anyone told me in February 2006 that I would be a Muslim before April rolled around, I would have shaken my head in concern for the person’s mental health,” Redding recently told a crowd at a signing for a book she co-authored on religion.
Redding said that her conversion to Islam was sparked by an interfaith gathering she attended three years ago, citing an overwhelming conviction to surrender to God. Redding said that she did not feel that her new Muslim faith posed a contradiction to her staying a Christian and minister: “Both religions say there’s only one God,” Redding said, “and that God is the same God. It’s very clear we are talking about the same God! So I haven’t shifted my allegiance.”
The Episcopal church rejected Redding’s religious church, saying it is tantamount to abandonment of the church. The Diocese of Rhode Island, where Redding was ordained, told her to leave either her new Muslim faith or the ministry. A diocese statement said Bishop Geralyn Wolf found Redding to be “a woman of utmost integrity. However, the Bishop believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim.