There’ll be no more Muslim prayer services at St. John’s, Waterloo according to this statement from the Bishop of Southwark (Church of England):
‘The Bishop of Kingston has, at my request, now met with the Vicar of St John, Waterloo to discuss the Inclusive Mosque event which took place at St John, Waterloo on 6 March. Whilst it is very important to build good interfaith relations, it is clear that an act of worship from a non-Christian faith tradition is not permitted within a consecrated Church of England building. The Vicar has issued a statement expressing his sorrow at the offence this has caused and any infringement of Church of England guidelines. He has assured me of his intention to work within these guidelines in the future’.
The statement from the Vicar of St John, Waterloo can be found here.
That statement from the Vicar of St John, Waterloo, Giles Goddard, follows:
The Inclusive Mosque Initiative event hosted by St John’s Church, Waterloo, for International Women’s Day has given rise to great consternation, and I am sorry for the offence caused and any infringement of Church of England’s framework and guidelines.
I am, by faith and tradition, a Christian. I stand by the Church of England’s Declaration of Assent: The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
It is in that context that I have tried to build a better understanding between faiths. The Church of England is in an especially responsible position as the established church, with a duty to try to engage with all the people of England.
Now, more than ever, it is essential that we are able to meet in friendship across the boundaries of faith, and the event at St John’s was part of attempts to enable that to happen. I remain committed to finding ways for Christians and Muslims to acknowledge our shared heritage and history, without minimising the uniqueness of both our traditions. I have assured the Bishop of Southwark of my commitment to work to build good interfaith relations, but to do so within the teaching and guidelines of the Church of England: http://www.southwark.anglican.org/news/pr/pr.php?id=3578
Canon Giles Goddard
St John’s w. St Andrew’s, Waterloo
Prior to this development, Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow wrote on the kerfuffle over the prayer service:
I’ve heard on the grapevine that a mixed group of young people, Muslim and Christian was present in Liverpool Cathedral one year on Ash Wednesday when Justin Welby was the Dean. To some surprise, the Muslim young people came forward to receive the ashes on their foreheads along with everyone else.
I believe that the quick thinking Dean (now the Archbishop of Canterbury) said something like: “May the God of Abraham which is both my God and yours bless you and keep you safe this day” and firmly put the ash on all their heads. Such things are the everyday stuff of ministry. Entirely uncontroversial and a delight and a parable of the way things should be, to all involved.
Anyone wanting to throw stones at Giles Goddard over this might find that they bounce off and hit the Archbishop of Canterbury instead.
And those who want to stir up trouble between faiths, motivated by latent homophobia, should look deep into their souls before they next try to look the God of love in the eye.
The patrons of St John, Waterloo are the Archbishop of Canterbury and the (evangelical) Church Pastoral Aid Society.
Our report from March 13 is here.
This past November a Muslim prayer service was held at the National Cathedral. The usual suspects made their usual objections to inclusion of others.
Posted by John B. Chilton