Tag: Deacon Jessica Foster Deacon in Interfaith Context

A DEACON WELCOMES RAMADAN

Deacon Jess Foster muses on the potential of respecting Ramadan for building better community relationships.

Why I Welcome Ramadan

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Five minutes ago I walked into the house. Its ten to ten at night and my youngest son shouts from his bedroom – there are samosas on the table. And there are.  Crispy vegetarian samosas – one for each member of the family – and they are still hot.

These samosas, along with all sorts of other delicious meals and snacks, have been arriving in Ramadan most days for the last 10 years or so. They are cooked by my neighbour who began her fast today. In the last few years we have shared much more than food over the fence – we talk about prayer, parenting, how faith affects our daily life and weather, washing and children.

As an interfaith worker, I am invited to join my friends as they break their fast in mosques and restaurants, in community centres and banqueting suites. I go as often as I can and I have learnt from this hospitality to invite my friends to come with me to church at Christmas or Easter.

Last year, at St Peter’s Hall Green, where I am a curate, we decided to offer hospitality in our church building and we were delighted that about 80 people came together to break the fast – sharing an Iftaar meal.  This year we are accepting the hospitality of a local community centre and working with them to offer hospitality to some of the people living in Birmingham who are refugees from Syria and to women who do not come from Muslim families, but have converted (reverted) to Islam and often break the fast alone.

As a church we are learning about the dimensions of both offering and receiving as we explore hospitality together and learn how to build bridges with our neighbours from different faith communities.

For me, the hospitality of being both a guest and host is at the heart of the Gospel.  Jesus knew how to be a good guest – I would have loved him to be at my wedding when the wine ran out – and a great host, washing the feet of his tired and dusty guests. The hospitality of God offers us fullness of life on earth and the promise of eternal life. The Holy Spirit built community at Pentecost that broke through cultural and ethnic divides and continues to draw people together both inside and outside the church.

Hospitality turns the stranger into a friend; it opens the door to reconciliation and urges us to see the world through the eyes of another.  It might start with a samosa but it could end by opening our hearts, minds and spirits to love our neighbour as our self.

This blog was written  on Monday (6th JUne) for the Church Of England blog  http://cofecomms.tumblr.com/

LAUNCHING DEACONS’ TOOL KIT

It’s a joy to announce the launch of the Diocese of Exeter’s Deacons’ Tool Kit, a new and growing collection of resources by deacon practitioners on key aspects of diaconal ministry.

DEACONS’ TOOL KIT

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So far, the Tool Kit offers:

  1. Andy Farmer’s Deacon in the Workplace (Andy is a diaconal ordinand, to be ordained this year);
  2. Deacon Jess Foster’s Deacon in an Interfaith Context;
  3. Deacon Terry Drummond’s Deacon in the Public Square;
  4. the Potted History of the Diaconate which is already one of this blog’s Pages;  and
  5. Deacon Gill Kimber’s four-session parish mission preparation course, Preparing for Mission.

All resources are downloadable, and the Preparing for Mission course can be adapted to different contexts.

Other resources are on the way and will be added  from time to time.

Do take a look:  http://exeter.anglican.org/ministry/vocations/diocesan-deacons/

If you’re a deacon with experience in a particular sector of diaconal ministry and you’d like to contribute, please get in touch with me either through the Comments or at deacons@tutanota.com

The Tool Kit is also available on this blog on one of the Pages (see right-hand tabs)