We spend five minutes with the Rev. Marie Wilson
During the season of Lent this year, I spent quite a bit of time exploring events, books and films on a variety of topics related to my own journey as a Christian minister. One such film, related specifically to my interest in interfaith dialogue, was the Imam and the Pastor: A documentary from the heart of Nigeria. Let me share a little of the story with you:
In the 1990s, Imam Ashafa and Pastor Wuye led opposing militias in Northern Nigeria. Now the two men work together bridging religious conflicts that have killed thousands. This is an encouraging film showing the journey two people make in their lives and in their faith. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury said of the film 'Theirs is an inspiring story, full of hope... A model for Muslim-Christian relations.'
It is certainly not an easy journey, but an honest one. At one stage there is the statement that when travelling together on their way to talk about peace, they sometimes had a disagreement and wouldn’t talk to each other – so passed notes under their bedroom doors instead.
The initiative in this work toward peace comes from the Imam after reading in the Koran that he should forgive others. Sometimes we feel that is a Christian prerogative. However the Pastor needed some persuading before he became aware of the centrality of this to his gospel.
In the film there is a story of a war torn country, where the pastors together visit the mass graves of both Christians and Muslims killed in local fighting. In this light we are made painfully aware of the need for mutual respect and a quest for peace – a peace based on forgiveness which is part of the scriptures of both religions.
In the coming months, you might like to get a hold of a copy of this documentary and watch it, possibly with a group of friends or your congregation. You might also like to take a look at the study guide prepared for this film by our Working Group. You can find it among our Activity Tool Box prepared for Interfaith September - just scroll to the bottom of the page.