The Inclusive Mosque Initiative event hosted by St John’s Church, Waterloo, for International Women’s Day has given rise to great consternation, and I am sorry for the offence caused and any infringement of Church of England’s framework and guidelines.
I am, by faith and tradition, a Christian. I stand by the Church of England’s Declaration of Assent: The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
It is in that context that I have tried to build a better understanding between faiths. The Church of England is in an especially responsible position as the established church, with a duty to try to engage with all the people of England.
Now, more than ever, it is essential that we are able to meet in friendship across the boundaries of faith, and the event at St John’s was part of attempts to enable that to happen. I remain committed to finding ways for Christians and Muslims to acknowledge our shared heritage and history, without minimising the uniqueness of both our traditions. I have assured the Bishop of Southwark of my commitment to work to build good interfaith relations, but to do so within the teaching and guidelines of the Church of England: http://www.southwark.anglican.org/news/pr/pr.php?id=3578
Canon Giles Goddard
St John’s w. St Andrew’s, Waterloo