ATLANTA - A Muslim woman is to preach Tuesday during a service in which Episcopal priests and deacons will reaffirm the vows first taken at their ordinations.
Soumaya Khalifah, executive director and founder of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta was chosen to preach by Atlanta’s Episcopal Bishop Robert C. Wright. Wright said he chose Khalifah because of her ongoing efforts to bridge the gaps between religions.
“Soumaya provides a wonderful example for how to share the love of God; the same God worshiped by all the world’s Christians, Jews and Muslims,” Wright said. “It is an example that has never been more needed.”
The renewal of vows service will be held Tuesday, April 11, at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Roswell beginning at 11 a.m. The service is open to the public.
Khalifa, born in Alexandria, Egypt, said she long wanted to share the rich complexities of her Muslim religion and background with fellow Americans of different faiths. But she never imagined her first
experience doing so would be after the horrific events of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Today the Islamic Speakers Bureau she founded in 2001, reaches thousands of people, focusing on education and debunking negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.
Among Khalifah’s accomplishments is a 16-part television series on AIB TV that she hosted titled "Meet Your Muslim Neighbors.” Khalifah’s work and life story was featured in the book "50 Green Card Stories" and in the New York Times.
Khalifa holds an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Houston and a master's degree in human resources from Georgia State University. She and her husband Mohamed have 3 children: Dr. Yousuf Khalifa, Mr. Osama Khalifa and Ms. Yosra Khalifa. Soumaya and Mohamed have been residents of Georgia since 1988.
Tuesday’s is not the first time this Episcopal service has featured a preacher from another religion. In 2015, Wright arranged to have the renewal service held at The Temple, a Reform synagogue on Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta. The preacher for that service was The Temple’s senior Rabbi Peter S. Berg.