Praying the News: CHAPLAINS CUTBACK
by Alisa Pothier-Merrett
Recent decisions by the federal government mean federal inmates will no longer have access to contracted non-Christian chaplains during their incarceration. Part-time chaplain contracts have been cancelled. All full-time chaplains except one, are Christian.
Rev. Lloyd Bruce, a United Church minister working as a chaplain at the Springhill Institution, says, “when the cuts are effected (and some already have been) we will have no Muslim Imam or Buddhist teacher, nor do we have any such volunteers. We will no longer have a priest under contract to offer Eucharist or the Sacrament of Reconciliation to Roman Catholic inmates.” He notes, “The absence of these professional religious leaders in their provision of care to the inmates of those traditions will, I believe, lead to the possibility of increased tension in the Institution.”
Let us pray for all who are affected by this decision with this prayer from Rev. Bruce.
“I was in prison and you visited me…” Matthew 25:36
Pray that all incarcerated persons, people of faith and no faith, will be afforded the right to be visited, guided, counselled and supported by professional and accountable religious/spiritual professionals of their tradition.
Pray that those of faith will be open and respectful to those who claim no faith.
Pray that in their guiding and counselling victims are remembered and attempts are made to repair harm.
Pray that these religious/spiritual professionals will work to engage their respective faith community in voluntarily supporting the inmates during their incarceration, and welcome them back into their midst upon release.
Pray that we in Canada will continue to work toward the Realm of God that is envisioned with the grand inclusivity of Divine Mystery: where we are surprised by who shows up at the wedding banquet and learn in the end that the last and least…really are the first and greatest… and inasmuch as we do it to the least of these… we do it to our brother Jesus.
Mosque Target of Disturbing Incidents
by Beth Johnston
Early one morning in late September worshippers arriving at the Masjid Dar-as-Salam Mosque in Charlottetown discovered a bottle of gasoline on the front steps along with a note saying, “Defeat Jihad”. It was then revealed that there had been two previous incidents, the nailing of a pig’s head to a post and the torching of a contractor’s vehicle.
A Charlottetown City Council member condemned the attacks and called those in positions of leadership to condemn the acts “in no uncertain terms”. The Canadian Race Relations Foundation expressed its profound concern over the acts and the events were also reported in The Globe and Mail.
The Rev Dr John Moses, minister of Charlottetown’s Trinity United Church, placed a sign outside the church indicating the congregation’s solidarity with the Muslim Community. In reporting only one objection he speculated that this person, and perhaps others, are being influenced by anti-Muslim sentiment by American televangelists and media.
The Executive of PEI Presbytery met on October 25 and at the time of writing was drafting an official letter of support.
In an effort to promote understanding and education, the Muslim Society invited the public to a lecture on Islam and the turnout was very positive. The society is planning other events to help promote understanding.
The Muslim Community of PEI is comprised of about 120 regular worshippers.