21 November 2019
The Council of Christians and Jews welcomes the timely publication of a significant new statement on Jewish-Christian relations: ‘God’s Unfailing Word’. Published by the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission, this is the first major statement by the Church of England on the relationship between Christians and Jews. It comes at a sensitive time for the UK Jewish community with rising antisemitism in wider British culture.
CCJ celebrates the document’s wider purpose that calls for an ongoing commitment to dialogue between Christians and Jews. It is of great importance that Archbishop Justin Welby states: ‘The Church is being less than its true self when it refuses the gift of Christian-Jewish encounter’ and that the report should ‘spur us towards more and deeper encounters where we can hear and understand each other’. Indeed, this ongoing encounter is illustrated well in the afterword from Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. This has also been the mission of the Council of Christians and Jews since its founding in 1942.
We therefore welcome the practical emphasis of the report, which is pragmatic and hopeful with regard to future Jewish-Christian relations. With its national network of 29 local branches and a dedicated staff team and networks, CCJ is well placed to take this work forward with education, dialogue and shared social justice initiatives.
CCJ Director, Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko said: ‘Thank you to the Church of England for reminding us all of the importance of Jewish-Christian dialogue at this critical time. We are delighted that CCJ Chair Bishop Michael Ipgrave was Chair of the working group which produced this ground-breaking document.’
‘Our work in bringing Christian and Jewish communities together, to learn about one another, to talk to one another, even when those conversations are difficult, has never been more important and we look forward to the ‘deeper encounters’ envisaged by this document’.