St Albans is an active member of the North Harrow Council of Churches on Palm Sunday the NHM (North Harrow Methodist) and St.John Fisher Roman Catholic Churches join us for an open air service on our grounds. Twice a year the Methodist and ourselves have a joint service, in January for the Methodist Covenant service and in June for our patronal service. In Lent and Advent there are joint house groups, alternate years we arrange for a speaker instead of for Lent house groups these are for all local churches, at Easter we have a joint walk of witness, at Christmas the churches sing Carols in the shopping parade, we work together for Christian Aid collections.
Inter-Faith St Alban’s is a member of Harrow InterFaith. Our main inter-faith commitment is with the local Shia community, who are building a large Muslim community centre half a mile from the church. This relationship, which includes the local Methodists, has developed over the past 8 years or so and is important for all our communities.
There have been joint activities including a trip to Kew Gardens and a bake off day held in St Albans halls; these have been well supported by North Harrow Methodists, St Albans and the Shia community. There are meetings for study and prayer. Joint social events are organized and a number of rich personal friendships have developed. Around 50 Muslims come to the Christmas Midnight Mass each year.
Earlier this year 2 members of the group were supported to attend an 8-days course: Sharing Perspectives – Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land - at St George’s College, Jerusalem. Eileen Eggington a reader from St Albans represented the local churches on this course. The relationship is especially significant as this Shia community is young, vigorous, well-educated, open and inclusive and their membership includes the deputy general secretary of the Muslim Council of Great Britain and the editor of the Muslim News.