Photo Credit: Anglican Taonga
The Tikanga Pākeha Ecumenical Group is inviting Anglican churches to host Iftar meals for their Muslim neighbours during Ramadan.
The Tikanga Pākeha Ecumenical Group is inviting Anglican churches in Aotearoa New Zealand to host Iftar meals for their Muslim neighbours during Ramadan. They say that doing so will promote friendship between Anglicans and Muslims.
The chair of the ecumenical group, Canon Michael Wallace, wrote to New Zealand dioceses to promote Ramadan hospitality in their church facilities. He said: “the simple gesture of sharing a meal together builds solidarity and understanding between people of different faiths.”
Ramadan runs from 13 April to 12 May this year, and observers will be fasting during daylight hours for the whole month. During Ramadan, Muslims break their daily fast at sunset each night with a large meal called an Iftar. Tradition encourages them to share Iftar meals with their faith community and with others.
Canon Wallace said: “for a local parish or church group, stepping out of our comfort zone to invite our Muslim neighbours to an Iftar meal is a good first step in building the kind of natural links between Christian and Muslim faith communities that we need for peace.”
Following the deadly mosque attacks in Christchurch in 2019, government officials called meetings of different faith community leaders around the country in an attempt to build interfaith peace. However, they found that many local religious leaders already knew one another. They had already been collaborating, often on issues of peace and justice, as well as serving the wider community.
Canon Wallace said that “those kinds of connections did not happen by accident, but are the result of many bridge-building efforts over many years by the leaders of faith communities around Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Eating together gives us the chance to build understanding and friendships across the whole church and mosque families, not just between the Imams and priests.”