Soumaya Khalifah’s sermon fell in the usual place in the Holy Week rite in which clergy from the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta renewed their vows: after a Gospel passage and before the consecration of bread and wine as Holy Communion.
In this Mass, the Liturgy of the Word also included a Quran reading, including: “God, there is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting. Neither slumber overtakes Him nor sleep. Unto Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth. Who is there who may intercede with Him save by His leave?”
Khalifah asked leaders from the region’s 96 Episcopal parishes an obvious question: Was this a historic moment, with a Muslim woman preaching in a liturgy for an entire Christian diocese?
“I truly believe that interfaith works is the civil rights movement for the 21st century,” said Khalifah, head of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta. “Faith is used to divide us and we need to make intentional efforts to bring ourselves together. Normally we worship, associate and have friends from our own faith tradition, our own race. ...