A London-based priest has been slammed after allowing a Muslim prayer service to take place in an Anglican church in the British capital, the Daily Mail has reported.
Reverend Giles Goddard – described by the newspaper as a ‘leading liberal clergyman’ – held the ‘Inclusive Mosque’ event at St John’s Church in Waterloo, South London, where he is the vicar.
Speaking at the service he asked the congregation to praise ‘the god that we love, Allah,’ the report added.
Rev Goddard said: “It is very much about St John’s being a place of welcome. We understand God as a generous God, a God who celebrates love and celebrates life.”
Speaking of the ‘Inclusive Jummah’ event which was held in partnership with the Inclusive Mosque Initiative, he added: “They could have gone to a community center, 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. It is the same God, we share the same tradition.”
And he said that ‘everything his church did was legal and within bishops’ guidelines’.
Finishing the service he read from religious text Psalm 139, adding: “This is from the Hebrew scripture – we all share these great traditions, so let us celebrate our shared traditions, by giving thanks to the God that we love, Allah.”
But the event – which is believed to be the first time an entire Islamic service was held by the Church of England – has come under criticism from conservative clergy, who say it breached canon law.
Reverend Stephen Kuhrt, vicar of Christ Church, New Malden, said: “I am appalled by islamophobia and when people whip up anti-Muslim frenzy, but the vicar of St John’s Waterloo has done something that is completely illegal, which is to allow an Islamic service to be held in his church, and then he has participated as well.’
And the minister of Wimbledon’s Emmanuel Church, Reverend Robin Weekes, said: “The issue is not primarily that canon law has been broken, which it has, but that it is offensive to Christians who believe that there is only one God.”