Congratulations to Isaac Poobalan and St John’s, Aberdeen

Great blessings upon the Rev Isaac Poobalan and St John’s Church in Aberdeen for the story that has gone global from the Scottish Episcopal Church this week.

Noticing that the neighbouring mosque did not have enough room and that people were praying outside in the cold, Isaac invited them into the church and made space for them to pray. It is a great good news story and one that made me proud to be an Episcopalian.

A couple of years ago I was approached by some members of the committee of the local mosque here. Their building was being redone and was out of use for six weeks and they were looking for somewhere to worship for that time. We had quite a good conversation about whether or not they could worship in a church with so many images in it. However, they assured me that was not a problem with them and we discovered a shared story in that of Jibreel and Myriam (which is painted on the wall and known as Gabriel and Mary in St Mary’s). In the end, the mosque committee found somewhere else to use where they could all meet together – St Mary’s was difficult for them because the pews couldn’t be moved.

However, I willingly offered them space and would have been glad to welcome that community into church.

I was also pleased to invite a Muslim friend to read from the Qu’ran at our Carol service two years ago.

It was good to see St John’s Episcopal Church, Aberdeen offer the welcome to the Muslim community that they have done.

I see from newspaper reports that Isaac is now getting vile abuse written about this story via facebook.

Sometimes there doesn’t seem much to be proud of in the church. This story made me feel proud to be a Scottish Episcopalian. Isaac and that congregation deserve all our support and encouragement and love.

Peace and blessings be upon them.

And upon their new Muslim friends too.

Further Comment from Scottish Episcopal Bloggers:

From Kirstin Freeman –

From John Penman –

On Beauty from Chaos –

From Rosemary Hannah –

Midnight Mass Sermon 2012

I don’t know whether you are ready.

I do know that this year, for me, the cumulative effects of coming back from sabbatical just recently and then succumbing to one of the nasty bugs that has been going around the city at the end of last week, has meant that my pre-Christmas rush this year seemed to be condensed not simply into a couple of days but a couple of hours.

Cesar Augustus may have decreed that everyone was to return to their own town to be counted for a census, but this year the Provost of St Mary’s has decreed that henceforth, all Christmas Cards shall be known as Epiphany Cards and that everyone who receives them shall be grateful.

In short, my planning has gone a little awry.

Thus, I found myself at lunchtime today in one of the nearest shops to where I live. It is a greengrocer and I had to decide that most of my Christmas food shopping this year was going to be bought right then and right there or not be bought at all.

As I bundled veg into my basket, the proprietor looked at me and raised an eyebrow. [Read more…]