Priest and rabbi conversation project unveiled
Today at Lambeth Palace ‘In Good Faith’, a new Christian-Jewish dialogue project, was launched. This is a joint initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations, Ephraim Mirvis. Modelled on their own well rooted friendship, this partnership programme will ensure Priests and Rabbis based in close geographical proximity will be encouraged to explore mutual concerns and opportunities for shared action together, initially for the next year.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis explained their vision and hope for the programme and its place within their respective understandings of the role of faith in society.
Archbishop Justin said: “It is in the everyday conversations, the grassroots initiatives and the building of local bridges between Christians and Jews, our synagogues and churches, that we will see real change and the hope for a divided world and nation….. I am so grateful to you for signalling hope when the temptation is to succumb to world-weary cynicism, pessimism, defeatism and even despair.”
Chief Rabbi Mirvis said: “The most important part of today is tomorrow. It is what will result as a consequence of our collaboration. Therefore I give this challenge to you: don’t just reflect in the future on what a lovely day this was in Lambeth Palace. The strength . . . of what we are doing . . . is to encourage us all to work together … to guarantee that the outstanding relationships that we have at leadership level will trickle down to the grassroots within our communities, so that indeed as faith leaders, we will make a change in this challenging world of ours.
During the day mixed groups of rabbis and priests considered four topics – the challenge of creating and sustaining thriving faith communities, combating religious extremism, the Holy Land and its implications for inter-religious relations, and opportunities to contribute to the common good together.
It is intended that this launch day will be a catalyst for positive dialogue relationships between pairs of priests and rabbis who will continue the day’s conversations on a smaller scale in the weeks and months which follow.