Christians and Jews: where elite speaks only to elite
For some of this history see: Unpublished letters to the JC; Church of England backs work of ecumenical programme in Palestine and Israel; EAPPI
The full debate on the EAPPI at the July 2012 Synod can be read here in the section titled Palestine and Israel.
No full report of the November synod proceedings (and the question about JfJfP) is yet available.
Here, a news report from the Jewish Chronicle is followed by the Question to Synod and the Quakers’ (uncontroversial) support for EAPPI.
By Gavin Drake, Jewish Chronicle
November 23, 2012
The issue of female bishops was not the only controversial motion debated at the Church of England’s General Synod this week. The motion it passed in July, endorsing the partisan Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was also discussed.
The Revd Canon Simon Butler, vicar of St Mary’s Church, Battersea and Robert Hurley, a lay representative from Oxford diocese, asked about the church’s relationships with the Jewish community following the Synod’s endorsement of EAPPI. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, warned that it would lead to “serious impairment of Jewish/Christian relations.”
This week, the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, vice-chair of the church’s Mission and Public Affairs Council, said: “Relations with many parts of the Jewish community were strained as a result of the vote, and hurt and anger were expressed in the Jewish press and elsewhere at some of the language used in the debate.
“Some formal contacts were put on hold by the Jewish community while the impact of the debate and vote were considered. While noting the strain in relations that the debate caused, it is also important to recognise that the topic of Israel/Palestine does not define Christian/Jewish relations.”
He said representatives of the church, the Council of Christians and Jews and the Board of Deputies “have since met and will continue to meet to address the issues raised.”
John Dinnen, the Herefordshire pathologist whose private member’s motion sparked July’s debate, remained defiant as he asked a supplementary question. “When you have had contact with other Jewish groups, have they included groups like Jews for Justice for Palestine and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, which are entirely supportive of EAPPI, and also, are you aware that five per cent of the EAPPI volunteers are Jewish which is a higher ratio than the number of Jews in England?”
Bishop Hill replied: “We are aware that certain participants in the programme are Jewish themselves.”
Dr Chris Sugden, a lay representative from Oxford diocese, asked: “In light of the present critical and tragic situation in the Holy Land today, what work is being done to further the work of the Alexandra Declaration to promote peace between Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities there?”
Bishop Hill responded: “Everybody on this Synod would share your anxiety about what is happening right now. It was in our prayers this morning, it will be in our prayers again.”
Church of England, Agenda General Synod, November 2012
The Revd Canon Simon Butler (Southwark) to ask the Chairman of the Mission and Public Affairs Council:Q56. In his speech during the debate in July 2012 on Israel and Palestine, the Bishop of Manchester warned of the serious impairment of Jewish/Christian relations should the motion pass unamended. Given that the motion did pass in an unamended form, have there been any concrete signs of such impairment and, if so, what response has the Church of England made?
By Quakers in Britain
EAPPI reaches its 10th anniversary in November this year.
Since it was set-up in 2002 at least 1,000 Ecumencial Accompaniers from 45 international teams have served from around the world, including at least 150 from the UK and Ireland.
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is a World Council of Churches (WCC) initiative which was established ten years ago in 2002 in response to a call made by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, and Palestinian and Israeli NGOs. The mission of the EAPPI is to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their nonviolent actions and concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation.
The role of participants in the programme includes:
Monitoring and reporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law
Supporting acts of nonviolent resistance alongside local Palestinian and Israeli activists
Offering protection through nonviolent presence
Engaging in public policy advocacy
Standing in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation.
Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW), part of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, co-ordinates the EAPPI in Britain and Ireland, under the auspices of the World Council of Churches. Partner churches and church-related organisations include:
Baptist Union of Great Britain
Church of Scotland
Church Mission Society
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
Pax Christi UK
Scottish Episcopal Church
United Reformed Church
Since August 2002, hundreds of Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) from twenty countries have served in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Nearly 140 of these EAs were from Britain and Ireland. A further 20 from Britain and Ireland are serving in 2012.
The EAPPI is co-ordinated internationally by the World Council of Churches. Visit the WCC’s EAPPI website for more information about the programme as a whole.