Interfaith Service at St. John’s Parish in Montclair

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This Sunday morning, May 22, at 10 a.m., the sounds of the adhan — the Muslim call to prayer — will ring out in St. John’s Episcopal Church Montclair.

While there’s no minaret at the church, the words of “Allahu akbar,” (God is greater) will none-the-less invite both Christians and Muslims to worship side by side. During the interfaith service, verses from the Holy Qur’an will complement readings from the Holy Bible, including during Communion, embracing the traditions of both religions.

Reverend Andrew Butler, Rector of St. John’s parish since September 1, 2010, decided to have this service in order to demonstrate that both Islam and Christianity stem from Abrahamic roots, as well as to dispell negative stereotypes about the Muslim faith.

“I’ve grown concerned about the demonization of Muslims. I want Montclair to develop an understanding of the religion.” Reverend Butler stated.

In addition to Butler, speakers will include Anisa Mehdi, a scholar and journalist who will describe what it means to be a Muslim in America and Abdul-Alim Mubarak-Rowe, an assistant Imam at Masjid Waarith ud Deen in Irvington, a media consultant to the American Muslim Alliance and a journalist.

The Reverend went on to say, “We are trying to find ways to blend our community through religion. It’s hard, but we can accomplish it through this organic event and working together through outreach and other ministries of compassion.”

This interfaith service isn’t only trying to blend religions, is also a way to invite the public to visit St. John’s Episcopal Church. After the service, at 11am, conversation about Islam and Islam in America will continue.

St John’s Episcopal Church
55 Montclair Avenue
Montclair
(973) 746-2474

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51 COMMENTS

  1. Does the service include the viciously anti-Christian passages in thew “Holy Quran”? Such as the following:

    Christians have forgotten part of the divine revelations they received: “From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent them: so we estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other, to the day of judgment. And soon will Allah show them what it is they have done.” — Qur’an 5:14

    Jesus is not the Son of God: “O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.” — Qur’an 4:171

    “It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” — Qur’an 19:35

    Those who believe that Jesus is God’s Son are accursed: “The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! ” — Qur’an 9:30

    Jesus was not crucified: “And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.” — Qur’an 4:157

  2. Jeff. nice try singling out of Islam.

    You should be glad you’re not a Jew living in Catholic Spain in 1492, or for that matter, a Palestinian living on the Jewish West Bank in 2011.

    Violence, suppression (and bigotry) are as much part of each and every religion as ritual objects and impressive buildings are.

  3. Yet by a very wide margin, the atheists win the prize for the body count with Mao, Stalin and Hitler alone.

  4. Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. Exodus 20:23NIV Unless you witness to the Muslims and try to convert them, then you don’t really believe what you believe. You are letting your muslim friends go to hell. Save them. Tell them of the savior. Tell them they can be saved if the repent and turn to the risen lord. But do not read from their book in your Father’s house.

  5. ROC,
    Mao, Stalin and Hitler didn’t pretend to persecute or massacre on behalf of a Creator.

  6. No, in the name of the socialists stand-in for God, the State. Not one bit of difference.

  7. Huge difference, ROC. Socialists ( and Nazis ) know what their State wants – it’s their own human creation, and they destroy according to their own precepts.
    However, those who destroy in the name of God can’t possibly have the first insight into the Divine Agenda, but operate as if they did, relishing the unverifiable but handy convenience of having received Orders from Beyond, and then proceeding to destroy in the name of their God.

  8. No, in the name of the socialists stand-in for God, the State. Not one bit of difference.

    The solution, obviously, is a religious state. Thank you, ROC!

  9. Sprio it’s a false dichotomy. You maintain religion leads to persecution and murder. So I remind you that by a huge margin the people who spurn religion are the biggest persecutors and murders.

    Evil people, weather religious or not, become mass murderers. Religion has nothing to do with it. You are just trying to feed your own brand of bigotry.

  10. ROC, religion has a whole lot to do with it – people will kill with great intent so as to preserve their place in Heaven, Paradise, or whatever they wish to call it.

  11. I could say the same thing:

    “Socialism has a whole lot to do with it – people will kill with great intent so as to create a Socialist Paradise on earth, or whatever they wish to call it.”

  12. For ROC:
    “Hitler frequently referred to God and Christianity in his various speeches and writings. In one 1933 speech, he said that “To do justice to God and our own conscience, we have turned once more to the German Volk.” In another he said: “We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.”

    In a 1922 speech, he said: “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter…”

    And more for your reading pleasure:
    https://atheism.about.com/od/atheismmyths/p/AtheismKills.htm

  13. Fair enough, ROC, but lately, the ones who are hellbent on convincing themselves (and others) that they’ve found the path to Paradise on Earth ( or at least in the Exceptional USA) seem to Believe the Unregulated Free Market is The Answer.
    And they don’t take too kindly to those who disagree even slightly (see: Tea Party)
    And we know how you feel about that solution !

  14. Wow RoC. The ignorance is staggering! Perhaps you missed the parts in Mein Kampf when Hitler stated that he was “…Doing God’s work.” He was actually quite fanatical in regards to religion and country – quite akin to the religious right in the USA. https://nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

    In addition, just because the Hitler’s party was called the “National Socialist Party” doesn’t mean it had anything to do with socialism. https://atheism.about.com/b/2005/10/31/hitler-socialism.htm

    The suggestion that atheists are responsible for a higher body count than religions is completely warped and as irrational as the belief in a deity.

  15. He also said Tud:

    “The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity…. ”

    Among many other thing.

    I’m not going to debate Hitler’s religious beliefs.

  16. Well, ROC, how convenient that you don’t want to debate a point you raised to support your view.

    I have no desire to debate Hitler’s religious beliefs either but I will debate a flaw in reasoning. Sometimes. It just is so time-consuming to get caught up in a back-and-forth on here.

  17. To me anything that gets people from different groups (neither of which is going away anytime soon) to see each other as human beings instead of a phantom menace is a good thing. Extremists aside, most of us would really just prefer to get along, I think.

    “Fear is the power of the dark side
    Fear leads to anger
    Anger leads to hate
    Hate leads to suffering”

  18. If you think that Hitler’s movement was somehow religiously based and specifically Christian in motivation. There really is nothing to discuss. And I mean that sincerely.

  19. FYI to atheists: muslims want you dead too. There is no coexistence.
    Re: fear If you repent and trust in Jesus Christ, you have nothing to fear.

  20. Sure, ROC, but, both Hitler and Stalin, while ostensibly secular leaders, took full advantage of centuries of Church-based Jew hatred to get the masses behind them.
    No wonder so many Europeans gladly turned their Jews in.

  21. No, ROC, I don’t think that. But I think your argument that atheists win the prize for body count is flawed.

    “…by a huge margin the people who spurn religion are the biggest persecutors and murders.”

    People are killing in the name of atheism? No, I don’t think so. But people surely are killing in the name of God.

    Personally, I think religion has brought about an incredible amount of good in the world and have no desire to pit the believers against the atheists in a contest of who is more evil. It’s silly and a waste of time.

  22. yes, paulmdoro, all 1.8 billion Moslems want you dead, youbetcha !

    buckjim02 has data to back up his claim.

    Over to you, buckjim02…..

  23. Christians do plenty of killing, in this country and elsewhere. What’s the point of a pissing contest trying to determine who has killed the most? What do divisive, hateful, and ignorant statements about all Muslims wanting everyone else dead accomplish?

  24. Paul, to answer you,

    Moslem bashing makes some Christians and Jews feel better. Especially xenophobic ones.

    All religions are in a millenium-old pissing contest, and they all
    have blood on their hands.

    I’m glad I’m unaffiliated.

  25. It certainly seems that way Spiro, and that’s a shame. It’s why I am turned off by organized religion. Too much focus on hating others and dividing people rather than bringing them together.

  26. And yet here are two groups of RELIGIOUS people willing to pray TOGETHER and respect EACH OTHER’S traditions. We call this PROGRESS. Say it with me….

  27. I am also unaffiliated, partly because of some of the reasons cited above, but primarily because I’ve always felt that one’s relationship with God and/or spirituality is a private one, between you and your diety (or lack thereof if you’re an atheist). I don’t like the “us against them” philosophy, no matter what your religion. I also don’t like proselytizing. That being said, I think all of the world’s major religions have some good qualities, i.e., the charitable components, healing the world, etc. The things I don’t like is how women are treated by most religious organizations (as second-class citizens) and the fact that there are too many dictates about how one should dress or what one can or cannot eat. That’s not what it’s all about, to me anyway. The most important thing to me is how you treat your fellow man while here on earth.

  28. Makes a lot of sense Mrs. Martta. The current Presiding Bishop (we have no pope-type figure… she is elected by her peers as “first among equals”) of the Episcopal Church is a woman, a former oceanographer and licensed pilot. And (at least the mainstream of) our church is trying to get away from the kind of sniping over trivialities you describe, as evidenced by the action of one of our local congregations described above.

  29. Spiro, With all due, respect Hitler was much more focused on the specific annihilation of the Jews than Stalin. Jewish intellectuals were portrayed as bolshevik sympathizers, intellectual proponents of communism, anti-private property, anti status quo,etc., which made them easy targets for the masses to turn against. Stalin was quite as effective, and much less selective in terms of his genocidal acts. See Harvest of Despair.

  30. Yes, the Episcopalians are one of the few religious groups that recognize women as equals in the church (Unitarian is another). There might be others of which I am unaware.

  31. I agree, deadeye, Hitler had a “Final Solution” for the Jews, and Stalin didn’t.

  32. All these mainline Protestant churches ordain women:

    – American Baptist
    – Disciples of Christ
    – Evangelical Lutheran
    – United Methodist
    – United Church of Christ/Congregational
    – Presbyterian Church USA
    – Reform Judaism

    I’m sure I’m forgetting some but those are the biggies

  33. Stalin had no use for Jews, Spiro T. (Or for Ukrainians, for Poles, “revanchists,” etc.) Read, for example, the new “Bloodlands” by Gary Snyder about this very topic. Stalin just didn’t give a formal title to his own bloody program of extermination, although he used “state security” as the usual excuse for it.

    As for the plight of the Jews in the Spain of the 1490’s, terrible, yes. But so were the successive waves of Muslim invasion of “al-Andalus” which directly led to that sad situation. (Read “Moorish Spain” by Richard Fletcher.) But even if we discount the Battle of Tours (Poitiers, according to many modern historians) and the “Reconquista” of Spain, it is pretty much only thanks to Christendom’s repelling of Ottoman expansionist ambitions at both the “Great Siege” of Malta and the sea batle of Lepanto that we are not all speaking either Turkish or Arabic today. (And did you know, the French, for all their nerve, were firm allies of the Sultan during this key period of religious strife!)

    While Islam is clearly a syncretic religion (to put it kindly), it is certainly not in most commonly accepted (at least by posters here) ways one kindly disposed to non-believers. Simply the institution of the distinctly undemocratic dhimmi tax and the comparable state of dhimmitude non-Muslims are fated to live in in non-Muslim countries proves this. Also, the ongoing persecution of Christians in these countries (those annoying Copts!, those pesky Maronites!, those nasty Orthodox!) gives the lie even to the supposed toleration of non-Muslims. Dare we, too, get into the treatment of women in Islam? (Mrs. Martta, would you like to comment on this issue? I hope so.)

    I don’t know, Spiro T., I almost always think you’re a know-nothing. But today you seem to have outdone yourself via your conspicuous ignorance of history. As for this planned interfaith event, it sounds almost silly beyond belief, a kind of death rattle of liberal, left-wing Christianity at its most futile. And it certainly pales as a gesture in comparison to the well-known strictures against Christian missionary proselytizing in almost all Muslim nations. Is the Reverend Butler really being serious here? Or is he simply badly deluded? Will he allow any genuine discussion of Islam’s generally hostile reaction to both Christianity and Judaism, at least in Islamic nations? I kind of doubt it. Will there even be mention, however brief, of the two-and-then-some divisions Muslim volunteers supplied to the German Army and Waffen SS during WWII, or of the close relationship with National Socialism begun during the 30’s by the notorious Grand Mufti of Jersualem (who was an uncle of Yasser Arafat, though whether by blood or mere friendship is unclear)?…Ah, but all this would make for genuinely uncomfortable inter-faith dialogue, and for truly squirmy Episcopalians.

    As to Hitler’s religious views, I think most serious historians would venture to say that he’d long abandoned any semblance of religious beliefs by his accession to power in 1933. He recognized the uses of religion as a control mechanism, yes, to the point where the Nazis launched a so-called “National Faith Movement” which had very little success in signing up Germany’s Lutherans and Catholics, and was soon abandoned. (Only in the the SS did such a horrid attempt at creating an evil new religion survive the entire 12 years of the Third Reich.) The man was a total, self-absorbed cynic, not at all a person of faith in the usual meaning.

    Even so, it was not Hitler, but Stalin, who famously asked in cynical jest once as to “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

  34. I also think that, whatever one makes of the Episcopal Church in America, at least the worldwide Anglican communion (of which the Episcopal Church here is part) in fact does have a “Pope-type figure.” He’s called the Archbishop of Canterbury and the last time I checked he was indeed a he. (I doubt that Anglicans worldwide, unlike those Americans who chose their female oceanographer, would stand for anything other than a male in this slot; certainly all those African and Caribbean bishops would not.)

  35. Cathar: Do I approve of how Muslim women are treated? No, I do not. I deliberately didn’t call out any specific religion above as to not offend anyone. So let’s leave it at that. I’m not enamored of any religion that deems me as a woman not worthy of taking part of the religious services or the church/synagogue. I could write reams and reams about this but I don’t consider this the proper forum for that.

  36. Even Science can be the sweetdank of the people.
    Even an Atheist believes in something.
    I’d just like to say good-bye to you all in case this planet goes up in smoke tomorrow.
    “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good-bye…….good-bye”

  37. to get back on topic, i’d like to commend this interfaith expression of tolerance. good to know after thousands of years religion is finally “getting it”! what, oh what will the next few thousand years hold at the behest of these bronze age constructs? hopefully in the next thousand years, these superstitions of our species’ infancies will have moved past their aptitude for child abuse, terror, hate, the stunting of humanitarian and intellectual progress, moral hypocrisy, and just plain absurdity in general.

    also, everyone who has ever lived is an atheist. unless of course you believe in every god that has ever existed. but you don’t. you believe there exist no other gods except your own personal flavor. some of us just go one god further.

  38. Reaching out to Islam is a very interesting concept. The problem is Islam not being at all interested in truly reaching out to Christianity. In fact, it is the ultimate objective of Islam to convert Christians and thus one day replacing Jesus with Muhamad (the last prophet on earth, in his own and highly modest opinion). The next in line will be the Hindus, followed by Buddhists. The world, according to Islam, must one day kneel to one God, Allah, and be ruled as one Califate forever.

    The desperate attempt by many Christians to appease Islam is regarded by Muslims as an abject act of cowardness. Now what?

  39. True Cathar, (at least no time soon) but he has no concrete authority outside the Church of England. He is our Presiding Bishop’s peer, not her boss. His control is limited to determining who is in communion with him.

    An attempt to shift to a more central power model (the Anglican Covenant) just died an ugly death at the hands of the House of Clergy and House of Laity of the General Synod of his own church. It was seen for what it was: a thinly-veiled attempt to punish TEC and the Church of Canada for daring to vote our consciences.

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