Archbishop Justin hosts Iftar meal at Lambeth Palace

Mar 29, 2023 by

from the Archbishop of Canterbury website:

An Iftar is the meal that Muslims share, often with other friends and neighbours, at the end of each day of fasting in the month of Ramadan.

Speaking before the breaking of the fast, Archbishop Justin expressed his appreciation for the good relations that Christians and Muslims enjoy in the UK, and spoke of the need of people of different faiths to stand together against the backdrop of terrible violence and suffering, particularly in the Middle East.

“There is much that we need to talk about, and much that we can work on together; but tonight is about celebrating the importance of our friendships,” he said.

Read here

Official guidance for churches from the Church of England


page 1     An iftar is an evening meal with which Muslims end their daily fast during the month of Ramadan, having abstained from all food and drink since dawn. The meal itself is not a service or act of worship, however prayers will usually take place in between the initial breaking of the fast with a small item of food, and the main meal.

page 3     As well as a room for eating, you will also need a space where Muslims can pray. While individual visitors from different backgrounds may pray privately in your church on an occasional basis, organised corporate prayer is different. Remember that worship and other events held in a Church of England place of worship are governed by Canon Law. A building and any attached land which have been consecrated are said, in the deed of consecration, to be set apart for worship according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England forever. In light of this, check which parts of your church are consecrated – it may just be the body of the church or could include other rooms too.

Some people will wish to perform ablutions (wudu) before praying, meaning availability of bathroom facilities may need to be taken into account.

page 4:  Some Muslims like the fast to end with the Islamic Call to Prayer, the Adhan, before they go and pray. You’ll need to ask your Muslim partners if they want this to happen, and if so whether this will be said by someone present or if a recording will be played. If the Call to Prayer is made in either form, and your event is taking place in the church building, this should happen in the room allocated for prayer, rather than a consecrated space. The Call to Prayer is not always be used at iftars, so it may be that you decide with your Muslim partners that you won’t have it recited or played.

Those not participating in Muslim prayers may be invited to watch, or alternatively you may wish to have a short time of prayer for Christians while Muslims pray elsewhere

page 5    Once food and drink has been distributed, consider how people will be seated while they eat. Some Muslim guests may not be used to men and women sitting together at social events, so have a conversation with your partners about this in advance.

You might like to let local media know what you are doing, as well as your diocesan communications officer. Be ready to articulate the rationale for the event in a couple of simple sentences. While most churches who host iftars do not receive any negative publicity, you should think about how what you or others post on social media may be perceived around the world, especially the visual message this could send if a photo was detached from the text.


Read also:  from the archives: What’s wrong with multi-faith worship? by Tim Dieppe, Christian Concern

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