The Telegraph reports:
A Church of England vicar is facing a storm of protest from traditionalist Christians after allowing a Muslim prayer service to be held in his church.
Dozens of Muslims took part in the “Inclusive Mosque” event at St John’s church, Waterloo in central London, in what is thought to have been the first time a full Islamic prayer service has been held within the Church of England.
The vicar, the Rev Canon Giles Goddard, a prominent liberal cleric, joined in the event, reading a passage from the Bible and inviting the congregation to give thanks to “the God that we love, Allah”.
The protests came from a number of angles: Evangelical clerics said the service
marked a breach with canon law which forbids any variation from the official liturgy if it contains “any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter”.
It was also “offensive” to Christians being persecuted for their faith around the world, they said.
The prayer service comes at a time when many in the Diocese of Southwark have voiced concern about an increasingly liberal shift; 60 clerics signed a letter to the Bishop of Southwark. The letter mentioned St. John’s specifically, criticizing its offering of thanksgiving services for same-gender partnerships and marriages.
The event, which came about at the request of the Inclusive Mosque Initiative, was held on International Women’s Day: “During the service a traditional call to prayer was issued by a man before the main worship was led by a Muslim woman, Dr Amina Wadud.”
Goddard said the service was a sharing of common faith traditions.
“We are offering a place for people to pray so it made absolutely perfect sense … we should be offering places to pray, we are the Church of England.” [says Goddard.]
He rejected claims it was a breach of canon law as the event was not officially a Church of England service.
“They could have gone to a community centre I suppose, but they loved being in a church, they were just really pleased and delighted to have the welcome and it was very moving really,” he said.
“It is the same God, we share a tradition.”
Posted by Cara Ellen Modisett