Thursday, April 12, 2012

Father Stephen Coles, St Thomas' Church.
Chaz here again. I had an eye opener yesterday -- in the "/me blinks" category.

I was reading about the friendship of Anglican priest Stephen Coles (of St Thomas' Church in Finsbury Park, London) with Abu Hamza of Finsbury Park Mosque. The UK press terms Hamza a "Muslim hate preacher." (The friendship wasn't the "blink" part -- wait for it.)

While working through the article, I started to build up assumptions about Coles, who says, "He [Hamza] is someone with whom it is possible to have a conversation. You might not agree about everything but you can have a conversation with him."

My assumptions were that Coles must personally be a shade to the right of things in the Anglican Church, in order to be able to find some common ground on societal issues, etc, with Mr Hamza.

The final two lines of the article near about made me fall out of my chair :

"Rev Coles is openly gay and entered into a civil partnership in 2006. He is also an open advocate of gay marriage. On its website, St Thomas’s church says it is an ‘open and welcoming congregation, an inclusive church that embraces the joys and challenges of being human with all our differences.’"

Hallelujah for good old-fashioned Anglicanism, always able to somehow, somewhere, find the Via Media.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2128414/The-odd-couple-Anglican-priest-befriended-Abu-Hamza-talks-friendship-says-miss-chats.html

(p.s. Yes, I've been to enough LBGT festivals in the Finsbury Park area of London that, in retrospect, I should have reserved judgement for the Daily Mail's final whammy.)

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