Episcopal minister defrocked after becoming a Muslim
SEATTLE, Washington (CNN) — Ann Holmes Redding has what could be called a crisis of faiths.
For nearly 30 years, Redding has been an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church. Her priesthood ended Wednesday when she was defrocked.
The reason? For the past three years Redding has been both a practicing Christian and a Muslim.
“Had anyone told me in February 2006 that I would be a Muslim before April rolled around, I would have shaken my head in concern for the person’s mental health,” Redding recently told a crowd at a signing for a book she co-authored on religion.
Redding said her conversion to Islam was sparked by an interfaith gathering she attended three years ago. During the meeting, an imam demonstrated Muslim chants and meditation to the group. Redding said the beauty of the moment and the imam’s humbleness before God stuck with her.
“It was much more this overwhelming conviction that I needed to surrender to God and this was the form that my surrender needed to take,” she recalled. “It wasn’t just an episode but …. was a step that I wasn’t going to step back from.”
Ten days later Redding was saying the shahada — the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Mohammad as his prophet.
But Redding said she felt her new Muslim faith did not pose a contradiction to her staying a Christian and minister.
“Both religions say there’s only one God,” Redding said, “and that God is the same God. It’s very clear we are talking about the same God! So I haven’t shifted my allegiance.” Video Watch Redding say, “Being a Muslim makes me a better Christian” »
The imam at the Islamic Center in Seattle, Washington, where Redding prays said she brings the best of both traditions to her beliefs.
“Coming from an example of wanting to be Christ-like and coming from the perspective of wanting to follow the best example — the example of our prophet Mohammed — it all makes sense then,” Benjamin Shabazz said.
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