THE daughter of an imam has been ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church in the United States.
The Revd Fatima Yakubu-Madus was raised a Muslim, but converted to Christianity after moving to the United States from her native Nigeria about 30 years ago, to study at Kentucky State University. Her father was an imam in the southern Nigerian state of Edo.
Ms Madus, aged 54, said that she sees her conversion as part of her ongoing spiritual journey, and believes that her late father would have been “very proud” of her ordination. “To me, it’s not that radical. In Nigeria, I know quite a few Christians who have converted to Islam, and vice versa. I was raised a Muslim, and faith has always been a huge part of my life.”
Ms Madus said that her conversion represented “a greater interfaith understanding, and not a rejection of Islamic faith”, and hoped that she would have opportunities to contribute to interfaith dialogue.
“I do respect and appreciate my father’s spiritual leadership, and my upbringing. I believe there is a reason for my call to the ministry — and hopefully in a reconciliatory and not divisive way.”
Ms Madus, who lives in Indianapolis, was ordained a vocational deacon on 23 October last year, at St Stephen’s, Terre Haute, in Indiana, and will serve at St John’s, Speedway, also in Indiana.
“It’s a really interesting place: we have a food pantry giving food out to more than 175 families. The economic situation is atrocious here. But being able to help out in that way drew me into being a deacon, to help those less fortunate than me.”
Ms Madus will continue to work full-time for a pharmaceutical company.