Scottish Episcopal Church 'distressed' at Quran offense, says primus

By ACNS staff
Posted Jan 17, 2017

[Anglican Communion News Service] The head of the Scottish Episcopal Church says the Church is “deeply distressed” at the offense caused by the reading of a passage from the Quran in a Glasgow cathedral. The primus, the Most Rev. David Chillingworth, also condemned a subsequent wave of abuse received by St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. Police have confirmed they are investigating offensive online messages received by the cathedral.

Members of the city’s Muslim community had been invited to join the congregation at an Epiphany service as a way of promoting understanding between the two faiths. The passage that was read out, sparking criticism, related to the Virgin Birth.

In an online post, the primus said: “The decisions which have led to the situation in St. Mary’s Cathedral are a matter for the provost and the cathedral community but the Scottish Episcopal Church is deeply distressed at the widespread offense which has been caused.  We also deeply regret the widespread abuse which has been received by the cathedral community.”

He pledged to bring those involved in developing interfaith relations together: “Those who seek to work in the area of interfaith relationships must weigh carefully whether the choices which they make are appropriate or otherwise. In today’s world, those judgements must give careful consideration to good relationships which have been carefully nurtured over many years in a local context. They must also weigh carefully the way in which national and international issues shape perceptions of what is appropriate or inappropriate.”

He added: “Our intention will be as a church to explore how, particularly in the area of worship, this work can be carried forward in ways which will command respect. Our desire is that this should be a worthy expression of the reconciliation to which all Christians are called.”

Responding to the furore, the Cathedral’s provost, the Very Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth, in his sermon on Sunday, Jan. 15, said the Epiphany service was aimed at promoting understanding between the two faiths – but said he had witnessed a “storm of abuse” from “10,000 ‘Christian’ voices claiming to know what happened here that night.”

“I would not have wished the week that I have had on anyone,” he went on. “The international hue and cry about our Epiphany service was not something anyone here was seeking. Our aim and the aim of all involved was to bring God’s people together and learn from one another – something that did, beneath the waves of the storm happen, and continues to happen. Nobody at that service that night could be in any doubt that we proclaimed the divinity of Christ and preached the Gospel of God’s love.”


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Comments (7)

  1. Peter Sebbage says:

    Engendering interfaith dialogue can only occur through respect of each other. This does not necessarily involve finding areas of contiguity but more and understanding of faith and culture and tradition. Forgiveness and eternal life with God is unconditional, through God’s grace and the divine trinity. They are not earned on merit or deeds. These differences do not constitute faces of the same coin but are insuperable by their very nature. The Christian and Muslim communities in our town are closely linked through friendship but we both know when to draw the line. We have a responsibility to pray that the divine love of God can be accepted and appreciated by all. Total reconciliation is then inevitable.

  2. This article doesn’t provide enough information. What was the reading in question from the Q’uran? Why were people so upset about it? Or did people object to ANYthing from the Q’uran being read in a Christian church?

    1. I believe that Rev. Corbishley “hit the nail on the head” when he stated, “Or did people object to ANYthing from the Q’uran being read in a Christian church.” Most people are and remain ignorant about much of the continuity we may share. Our ignorance of one another is shameful.

  3. DEAN F UPHOFF says:

    What were the offending words from the Quran?

  4. Ellie Finlay says:

    This is from the article: “The passage that was read out, sparking criticism, related to the Virgin Birth.” Many people do not realize that Islam honors Jesus as a prophet and have great respect of Mary, his mother. Muslims believe in the virginity of Mary at the time of the conception of Jesus.

  5. Doug Desper says:

    Islam denies that Jesus is the Supreme and only Incarnation of God. They designate Jesus as a prophet and nothing more. The Incarnation is the non-negotiable point that Christians cannot dismiss for the sake of just getting along or to attempt syncrestic prayers to a disparate divinity in a belief that it is the same God. Islam’s God does not permit a supreme revelation in Jesus — yet Christianity depends on it. Episcopal “niceness” is not a virtue that can subordinate the claim of Jesus when He said of Himself that “I Am the way, the truth and the life.. ” and ” No one comes to the Father except by Me.” Just as this incident was a mistake so were the Muslim prayers in the National Cathedral. In the very sight of Jesus on the Cross on the high Rood Beam were the prayers and utterances of a religion that denies that Christ came for that purpose and that He was sufficient to accomplish it.

  6. Jan Rowe says:

    During one of the Crusades, around Solomon’s Temple perhaps, I just heard that the blood of people killed was high up on the horse’s legs. Muslims have been having their Friday prayers at our Cathedral for a decade. They supply food for our church.

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