Every night during the month of Ramadan, Muslims in downtown Edmonton have been congregating in one of Edmonton's oldest churches for the night prayers (Taraweeh) during the month of Ramadan.
“McDougall Church was recently approached by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) and asked if we would consider renting part of the church to them from April 2 to 30 for their Ramadan prayers. After considerable discussion by both parties, McDougall has opened its doors and welcomed them to our building for the month of April,” said McDougall United Church. “Their community will be using the sanctuary space every night for evening prayers, which begin at 10:00 p.m. and may last a little over an hour. There may be as many as 100 people attending.”
“We are honoured to have this privilege of sharing our worship space with the Muslim community. “Ramadan Mubarak!”
This past Good Friday, the two communities came together into church to observe prayers - Christians observing Good Friday service and Muslims, the Friday prayer — in different parts of the church.
"It's a really beautiful thing," Yasin Cetin, outreach and engagement adviser for MAC, told CBC's Edmonton AM on Thursday.
"Being in a space like McDougall has been even more rewarding, just because we're sharing space with a beautiful community — and being able to connect on days like Good Friday, I think, is extra special."
Edmonton’s mosques are mostly located in the south or north ends of the city, so Muslims living or working downtown had to travel far for congregational prayers.
The church was looking to convert the building into a community hub and the Muslim Association showed interest.
"We thought, this is wonderful, because we really love the idea of different faith groups worshiping under the same roof. And we think we have a great space for being able to do that," Larry Derkach, a member of the congregation, told CBC News.
Meanwhile in Ontario, another Muslim group, Waterdown Muslim Community Centre (WMCC), has been renting the gymnasium facilities at the St. James United Church in Waterdown to hold congregational prayers.
“WMCC Team truly appreciates the partnership support from St. James United Church Waterdown for providing space for our Jumma prayer. We truly appreciate this support,” wrote the organization in a social media post on February 4. "Today, we were pleased to have Rev. Ryk Brown visiting our congregation and meeting with our attendees. Such a kind gesture indeed.”