Posts Tagged ‘pentecost’

Local Christian-Muslim Friendship

On Sunday 23 May 2010 a group of Muslim students from Newcastle University made their way to St Thomas’ church in the Haymarket, for a meeting and conversation with members of the congregation, under the banner of the Christian Muslim Forum. When they arrived, the congregation were enjoying a cup of coffee and some Birthday cake (Pentecost is the church’s Birthday, after all), so they joined in. Friendships were started at this point. It seemed almost a shame to call the group to order, to sit down in a circle; but the more formal session that followed was well worthwhile.

Catherine opened the proceedings with a welcome to St Thomas’ church, a 5 minute exposition of Christianity, and of her own faith. Turki then spoke for a few minutes, echoing how pleased he was to be present. The floor was then open to questions and discussion. Some quite challenging issues were raised:  “What about the Trinity?” “How do Muslims manage conflict in their community?” “What do Christians say about sex before marriage?” as well as some more light-hearted questions: What is an Archbishop? The focus on this occasion was more on Christianity than on Islam – that will be reversed at the return visit planned for October.

Daniel Edge, from the Christian Muslim Forum, chaired the proceedings, and all felt able to contribute. Once again at this point it seemed a shame to move on, but there was a substantial amount of food laid out, and it would have been wrong to waste it. So conversations continued over lunch, and the basis of a relationship forged.

The scheduled return visit is booked for Sunday 10 October. Although this date will fit well with the new academic year, those present felt it would be wrong to wait as long as October for the next stage in the process, so Daniel, Turki, and Catherine will be looking to see what can be arranged in the mean time.

The stated aims of the meeting were: to learn more about one another, to confirm our faiths’ commitment to peace and friendship, and to celebrate the continual process of engagement and dialogue that exists, as well as to have something to eat. All of these were achieved, and we are committed to continuing, and extending, the process.

Anybody is welcome to ask more about this, and if interested, please do get in touch. Two photos taken on the day can be seen in our gallery.

Our booklet on Mosque-Church Friendship.
Daniel Edge, Christian Muslim Forum
Revd Catherine Lack, University Chaplain and “Master” of St Thomas’ Church
Turki Abalala, President, Newcastle University Islamic Society

Other brief news items

Another one to challenge perceptions – an article written by a Muslim (Dawud Bone) on ‘Christians – A Religious Minority? Has political correctness led to the rejection of Christianity?’ Published by our friends at emel magazine and follows on from the BBC’s Easter programme – ‘Are Christians Being Persecuted?’. Some of the points touched on are raised in our ‘Christmas statement’.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Building Bridges Seminar has just taken place in Georgetown.
Following lack of take-up due to cost our Friends and Neighbours event will now be non-residential, please click on the link for more details (updating soon) or email us.

Please support our ongoing work – events, training, resources, new-sharing – with a donation, or  get in touch to get more involved.

Julian Bond