26th annual Muslim-Christian Evening, hosted by Portsmouth Cathedral

26th annual Muslim-Christian Evening, hosted by Portsmouth Cathedral

Christians from the Portsmouth Cathedral community and beyond gathered with Muslims from the Wessex Jamaat on Tuesday, 26th January, for the 26th annual Muslim Christian Evening hosted by the Cathedral. This much-valued event as with many others over the past year was held virtually via Zoom.
Although there was a sadness not being able to meet in-person and share food, good things also came from this technology. Breakout rooms allowed for small groups of members from both communities to discuss the impact of the pandemic, including the new things they had learned, and what they will be doing differently in the future.
Despite new formats of meeting, some of the most cherished traditions remained the same: The Cathedral Choir sang via video, alongside readings from Scripture and moving talks from the Dean of Portsmouth, the Very Revd Dr. Anthony Cane, and the Imam of the Wessex Jamaat, Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo.

Reflecting on the event afterward they said…
“Undoubtedly the whole world's response to the pandemic has brought humanity together. It has made me very aware of how we all humans are very much one global community and how our lives are deeply related to the whole fabric: the creations of Almighty God. Building walls won’t keep the virus away. Instead, we have got to build bridges across that which divides us. Our faith in Almighty God and the friendship that we share between our two communities has enabled us to continue this longstanding tradition of Portsmouth Cathedral and Wessex Jamaat; albeit on this virtual platform! Personally as a Muslim where my faith emphasizes on the concept of Ummah – the Muslim community being bound to all others by the special ties of faith- it was heartening to share stories of how diligently the various worshipping communities have been keeping faith with Almighty God and keeping connected to one another, despite the difficulties of these unprecedented times.” Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo.

“It was wonderful to see Sheikh Fazle Abbas and members of the Wessex Jamaat, as well as members of the Cathedral, attending an online version of the annual meeting of our communities that has been taking place for the last quarter of a century.   When we met in January 2020 we could never have imagined what the coming year would be like.   There are so many ways that the pandemic has affected both of our communities, and it was moving and powerful to share experiences.  There is one verse from the Bible that has particularly helped me over this past year, from the prophet Jeremiah: ‘In the year of drought [the tree] is not anxious.’   Well, this has been a year of drought, and of difficulty, and to be honest I have been anxious at times, but I know that the gifts and resources God gives us are sufficient for the challenge.   Not least the gift of each other, and of friendship, and of what we can learn from one another.  I look forward to our next meeting!”  Revd Dr. Anthony Cane

Everyone looked forward to the chance to meet in person in due course but expressed gladness at this opportunity to strengthen the bonds of friendship and to celebrate all that the communities have in common, especially at this time.


A screen capture of the evening from Zoom, featuring members of Portsmouth Cathedral and Wessex Jamaat.

Press Release Portsmouth Cathedral