The Islamic Post Blog

Episcopal Minister: Islam, Christianity Same by Khalida
May 21, 2009, 7:03 am
Filed under: Interfaith, May Volume I - 2009, National

By Jameelah Kareem
Islamic Post Staff Writer

(IP) –After nearly 30 years of serving as a director of faith formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill, Dr. Ann Holmes Redding announced she had converted to Islam in an interview with the Seattle-based Diocese of Olympia’s newspaper, Episcopal Voice.
Yet, Dr. Redding does not feel she has left Christianity at all. “The way I understand Jesus is compatible with Islam,” she said. “I was following Jesus and he led me into Islam.”
Dr. Redding had begun to study Islam in the awake of the tragedy of 9/11 and her conversion was sparked by an inter-faith gathering she attended 3 years ago. “It was much more this overwhelming conviction that I needed to surrender to God and this was the form that my surrender needed to take,” she recalled, as reported by CNN.
Despite an uproar on the part of some church members, Dr. Redding remained firm in her beliefs and convictions. Dr. Redding states that some interpret her being a Muslim as her “abandoning the church… and that [there] comes an understanding that you have to be one or the other, and most people would say that. It simply hasn’t been my experience that I have to make a choice between the two,” the minister told Seattle Times.
Redding does not believe that God and Jesus are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus. And she believes that Jesus is the Son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.
Many others like Dr. Redding have come to realize that the differences between Christianity and Islam are as thin as a line, and that the two religions should unite in preparation for Jesus, the Spirit of God, to return.
Last month marked Redding’s 25th Anniversary of her ordination as an Episcopal priest. Two hundred of Redding’s friends turned out for her commemoration of the event and also came to celebrate the publication of an interfaith book she co-authored. Dr. Redding called the event a celebration of “her movement into the next phase of ministry as both Christian and Muslim.”
Dr. Redding is working to establish Abrahamic Reunion West, a nonprofit institute to bring together the Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
“As frightening as it is,” she said, “I’m willing to let God be in charge of this path of mine.”


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