The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, a local Episcopal priest who announced she is both Muslim and Christian, will not be able to serve as a priest
(HH: This is just…just, oh it is just something! I have no issues with anyone who wants to blend and mix two religions for their personal journey to find God. But to be an ordained priest and expect to be able to dispose of 80% of one religion and 20 to 60% of another and still call yourself a priest of an organised faith? I can’t see it. She needs to have the guts to go off and form a schism or she needs to pick one faith to adhere to.)
By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times religion reporter
The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, a local Episcopal priest who announced she is both Muslim and Christian, will not be able to serve as a priest for a year, according to her bishop.
(HH: The problems are astounding! A Christian-Witch is easier to believe. A Christian-Buddhist is much easier to swallow. A Judaic-Christian would simply be a reversion to pre-Paulian Christianity. But Muslim-Christian? Can’t see it myself. To start off we have the Bible saying not to change a jot or tittle but the Muslims say THEIR version (which unfortunately does not have any actual pre-Mohammed COPIES) is the real one. In Islam it is heresy to even talk abut Jesus being Son of God and don’t even get started on the Resurrection and all that Messiah crap. All just Christian lies and distortions of the Islamic Message Jesus REALLY taught. Same goes for Moses’s stories and others. How can anyone be a PRIEST of one religion AND another that claims the scripture and main tenets of the first are all lies?)
During that year, Redding is expected to “reflect on the doctrines of the Christian faith, her vocation as a priest, and what I see as the conflicts inherent in professing both Christianity and Islam,” the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, bishop of the Diocese of Rhode Island, wrote in an e-mail to Episcopal Church leaders.
Redding was ordained more than 20 years ago by the then-bishop of Rhode Island, and it is that diocese that has disciplinary authority over her.
During the next year, Redding “is not to exercise any of the responsibilities and privileges of an Episcopal priest or deacon,” Wolf wrote in her e-mail. Wolf could not be reached for immediate comment.
“I’m deeply saddened, but I’ve always said I would abide by the rulings of my bishop,” said Redding, who met with Wolf last week. Redding, who characterized their conversation as amicable, said the two would continue to communicate throughout the year.
At this moment, though, she is not willing to do that. “The church is going to have to divorce me if it comes to that,” she said. “I’m not going to go willingly.”
But she also doesn’t completely rule it out, saying: “God will guide me over this year.”
Redding’s bishop in Seattle, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner of the Diocese of Olympia, who accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, said Wolf’s decision is a good compromise.
(HH: this is the person who is really a few cans short of a six-pack! Any “Bishop” of any religion that would allow such a thing is not a priest. They are a lazy so and so who found a way to make a living without working or actually stealing.)
“It’s a good way to have a timeout and provide an opportunity for Ann to continue to teach … and at the same time take a look at her relationship both with the Episcopal Church and the Christian faith and Islam,” Warner said.
Redding is scheduled to start teaching part time as a visiting assistant professor at Jesuit-run Seattle University this fall. But she will not be able to teach, preach or work at any Episcopal church or institution during the next year, she said.
Redding, who until March was director of faith formation at Seattle’s St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for 23 years.
In June, she announced publicly that, for the past 15 months, she’s also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Muslim prayers left her profoundly moved.
While her announcement perplexed many, some supported her spiritual journey and her larger efforts to find common ground between Christianity and Islam.
But others were critical, saying it wasn’t possible to be both Christian and Muslim. And some took issue with her being a leader within the Episcopal Church while also professing another faith.
Some also saw Redding’s announcement as another sign that the Episcopal Church was veering too far away from Scripture, doctrine and tradition. The Episcopal Church, which is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, is already embroiled in deep conflict with the Communion over scriptural interpretation on issues such as homosexuality and the ordination of women.
Redding says she understands that “the last thing the church needs to deal with at this time is this type of doctrinal dispute. I wish it could’ve been at a more convenient time. But as far as I know, I am responding to God’s will and God’s timing.”
For her part, Redding said she didn’t feel a need to reconcile all the differences between the two faiths but felt that at the most basic level, they are compatible.
She believes she has not violated any of her baptismal or ordination vows. And “since entering Islam,” she said, “I have been, by my own estimation, a better teacher, a better preacher and a better Christian.”
Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org