After a year of scrutiny from media and local residents, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) mosque that was holding Friday prayer services at is now using the facilities of in Mount Vernon.
Aldersgate's communications director Amy Hurd said though ICNA members were welcome to continue using Aldersgate’s facilities, mosque leaders decided it was time to switch venues. Friday, August 5 was their last prayer service at Aldersgate.
“They had been here for almost year,” said Hurd. “Going into the fall our church becomes very active.”
Ventures in Community recommended ICNA reach out to Good Shepherd Catholic Church, according to parish administrator Claudia Fiebig. "We welcomed the opportunity to have them worship on Friday afternoons," she said.
Aldersgate first allowed members of Islamic Circle of North America to use the church’s around last Labor Day, while the construction of their mosque was completed. The church’s decision gained, sparking critics to send angry emails and phone calls to Aldersgate pastors.
Rev. Jason Micheli, a pastor at the church that a “handful of folks” left the church since the decision was made. In an email to the Aldersgate congregation, Micheli said he hopes the church will maintain a relationship with members of ICNA.
“We hope this year has been just the beginning of a partnership between the two congregations as we work to serve God and our community together,” he said.
Fiebig said so far parishioners have reacted positively, "probably because not a lot of people are here on Friday afternoons."