Hundreds of worshippers in Sacramento, Calif., were able to celebrate Easter together this Sunday thanks to a local Muslim organization that let the Christians hold services in their mosque, the Sacramento Bee reports.
For the past 12 years, members of the Spiritual Life Center of Sacramento had rented out space at the Pioneer Christian Church, according to the paper. But when their lease expired on March 31, the 500-member church was left with little time to find somewhere else to hold their Easter Sunday service, which is traditionally the best-attended of the year.
Reverend Michael Moran told reporters he had tried desperately to find a temporary meeting space before the solution came to him in a dream.
"We were desperately looking for a place to hold our Easter services. I had a dream and in the dream I saw a newspaper headline that read, 'Easter at the Mosque'," Moran told KXTV. "But when I awoke, I said that will never happen."
Putting his doubts aside, Moran called Dr. Metwalli Amer of the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) to ask for permission to use the SALAM Community Center.
The Islamic Center had never allowed non-Muslim church to worship inside the mosque, but after consulting with SALAM’s board of trustees, Amer decided to let the congregants use the center's community hall for services, according to CBS Sacramento.
"This represents the true peaceful essence of the religion of Islam," Amer told Islamophobia Today. "I am an advocate of interfaith work."
The plans were not without controversy, however. Michael Tate, a member of New Season Christian Workshop Center in Elk Grove, told KCRA 3 News he believes the event was deceptive by leading people to believe the Quran is consistent with Christianity.
But objectors like Tate didn't stop worshippers from flocking to services at the mosque. Members of SALAM Community Center said there was so much interest in attending Easter services at the mosque that they had to schedule two services, one at 8:30 a.m. and another at 11 a.m.
"I heard people are coming from the bay area — all over the place just to witness this one-of-a-kind event. And we’re just happy to be a part of it," Adnan Syed, a spokesman for the mosque, told CBS Sacramento.
Reverend Moran told reporters that be believes the collaboration between the two religious communities was successful far beyond its original goal of helping the Spiritual Life Center congregants find a place to celebrate Easter.
"Our mission from the very beginning was to bring the different faith traditions together in cooperative efforts," Moran told KXTV. "I love what the Dalai Lama said, he said, 'Until there's peace among the world's religions, there will never be peace on earth. I think this is one of those steps towards peace.'"
Watch ABC News 10's report on the services above.
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more