Church – Mosque Twinning (April – May)– (Helping to get to know one another better).
As you know our Church is having conversations with the Noorul Islam Mosque on Audley Range and the Al Islah Islamic Girls High School near to the Mosque. The School asked for our help with their students’ preparation for their GCSE studies about Christianity and we have been help them with this by answer their questions. Since then, we have led a School Assembly for them talking about Easter and they invited us to attend (virtually) a special celebration event leading up to Ramadan all of which has been good.
These Interfaith Conversations are aimed at helping us to get to know one another better and are being promoted by the URC, Methodist, Baptist and Salvation Army churches in cooperation with the Muslim Council of Britain. At a recent national zoom meeting of those taking part we heard inspiring stories of joint action in local areas across England. We were also able to talk to each other in smaller groups to share knowledge of local events that have
been held since the last gathering on 8th November. It was a good evening and a testament to the commitment, energy, and enthusiasm of all those taking part.
The group will meet again in six to nine months’ time, when hopefully, lockdown restrictions have eased, to hear about continuing interfaith dialogue and to share stories and experiences of things that have been done together.
Our Conversations with Noorul Islam Mosque (Masjid)Dec 20 – Feb 21
You will recall from our last newsletter that we have begun conversations with a local Mosque (Masjid) further up Audley Range called Noorul Islam. The purpose of these conversations is to enable us to get to know each other a little better and to help us to explore and explain to each other a little bit about our respective faiths. During Advent we held a conversation with our Muslim colleagues talking about Advent and what it means to us as we approach the birth of Jesus. We explained that Advent for us is a time of preparation when we spend time in private and group bible study and in meditation about the significance of the miraculous and wonderful birth of Jesus and what it means to the whole world.
Our next sessions will be focusing on aspects of the Muslim faith as well as addressing questions from our Muslim colleagues about the Christian faith. We are looking forward to continuing these conversations on ‘Zoom’, for the moment, and later when we can visit each other’s places of worship, share food together, and perhaps find ways in which we can do work together to meet local needs.
We all feel that this is a very positive way for us to share our Faith and to hear about theirs particularly as we are all part of our local East Blackburn Community and wider afield.
Pre 2020 Ecumenical Links information
The church is part of an informal grouping of churches in East Blackburn comprising: St Jude’s and St Oswald’s C of E; St Joseph’s and St Teresa’s RC; and St Paul’s Methodist Church. Leaders of these churches have met regularly over the last few years. There have been joint services, often followed by soup and a roll, in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and some churches have shared in Bible Study sessions during Lent. Links with groups of other faiths The church has strong links with the Blackburn with Darwen Interfaith Forum, which has been instrumental in the formation of a new forum for the faith leaders of four churches and four mosques in East Blackburn. Clergy from St Jude’s C of E; St Paul’s Methodist, St Joseph’s RC and Westbury Gardens URC meet regularly with the leaders of four local mosques in what is known as the East Blackburn Faith Leaders’ Forum. This is a ground-breaking initiative. The mosques are: Noorul Islam; Jaame; Chester Street and Rizwan Newton Street. The leaders, and others, from these places of worship have expressed a desire to work together to engender greater familiarity and understanding between the members of the congregations. They are also committed to work together to:
- address local issues such as crime and disorder,
- increase respect for places of worship and faith,
- consider the impact of global issues as they occur, and
- work with the media.
Over the last few years successful ‘Getting to know you’ meetings have been held. On the day of Pentecost 2008, over 200 people, with an equal split between Christians and Muslims, attended a meeting about the origins of the four denominations of Christianity represented in the area. A similar event looking at the strands of Islam being practised in the Borough was held at Noorul Islam mosque on Saturday 7 February 2009. A former Chair of the Interfaith Forum, Derek Estill, is a serving Elder of this church and continues to serve as a member of the Interfaith Forum. A leaflet has recently been produced entitled: East Blackburn Interfaith Trail. This is a walking route that connects places of worship and other places of interest, such as the birthplace of Alfred Wainwright. He is known for his famous guides to the Lakeland Fells and was a church member at Furthergate Congregational Church (our predecessor) before moving to Kendal. For further information contact www.livingstreets.org.uk