Shared love and faith as church opens doors to mosque members
Communities came closer together in Pendle when a local church welcomed Muslims on a guided tour.
St Paul’s Church opened its doors to members of the Brunswick Street Mosque in response to a mutual visit earlier this year.
Men, women and children from both Muslim and Christian backgrounds shared each others’ company and explored the similarities and differences in their traditions.
There were displays around the church explaining what was treasured by the Church in terms of prayer and service of those in need; organist Vanessa Collier played and explained the use of the organ in Christian worship; children shared teaching materials and books, and suggestions were made for ways to develop the relationship in the future.
The Rev. Guy Jamieson, vicar at St Paul’s and St Mary's, Nelson, said: “Coming together in the places we love as being sacred to our faith is an expression of real trust and commitment to one another.
“Exploring the ways God has spoken to different people at different times in history in the holy space of our places of worship means that we can live out the call to hospitality, first seen in Abraham, and to whom both Christians and Muslims trace our roots.
"One participant was moved to quote the former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, who said 'God has given us many faiths, but only one world in which to coexist. May His work help all of us cherish our commonalities and feel enlarged by our differences'."
Local teacher Lindsey Felters said: “It was a privilege to share in company where so much was being learned, especially about all that we share.”
Both groups looked ahead to how they might celebrate the next national Interfaith Week (November 11th – 18th) and how to build on the activities they have shared so far.
These activities overlap with the regular work already done to integrate and share lives in Nelson through, for example, shared assemblies (Marsden Primary School) and joint visits to local care homes (Hulton Manor).
Mr G. Mustafa, of the Brunswick Street Mosque, said: “I would like to thank Rev. Guy and the worshippers at St Paul’s for giving us the opportunity to visit the church and see what activities they do. As our religion, Islam, says to respect everyone regardless of race or religion or colour.
"I think the open days, both at the mosque and the church were a good way of integrating both communities. Everyone was so welcoming and we look forward to having more events like this in the future.”