Durham Church offers to cover crosses while hosting Muslim Iftar meal

May 15, 2019 by

by Jules Gomes, Rebel Priest:

A parish church in the Diocese of Durham has been criticised for “being ashamed of the gospel” after saying it would cover crosses and other sacred images in order to host Islamic prayers and an Iftar meal for the local Muslim community.

The Church of St Matthew and St Luke, Darlington, also agreed to provide separate worship space so men and women could offer segregated worship.

Muslim representatives met with Vicar Revd Lissa Scott and agreed to set apart two small rooms for Muslim ladies to pray and clear one aisle of chairs in the church’s sanctuary for Muslim men to offer worship, according to the minutes of the meeting held on May 9.

The first set of minutes also recorded the group’s decision to “cover Christian crosses/photographs in small rooms for ladies to say prayers,” a lay source from Celebrating Communities, Darlington, told Rebel Priest.

The parish website advertises ‘Meditation, Mindfulness, Relation’ sessions based in Buddhism.

However, the Venerable Rick Simpson, Archdeacon of Auckland, refused to give permission for Muslim prayer in the main body of the church.

Local councillor Gerald Lee emailed the group the next day to inform them of this development suggesting that the Muslims “revert to using the two rooms that we inspected—one for the males and one for the ladies.”

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