Lambeth Palace hosted the latest event in the ‘In Good Faith’ programme for promoting dialogue and collaboration between Anglican priests and Orthodox rabbis.
Lambeth Palace has hosted the latest event in the ‘In Good Faith’ programme for promoting dialogue and collaboration between Anglican priests and Orthodox rabbis.
The day at Lambeth Palace was centred on the programme’s twinning model between priests and rabbis, while also celebrating engagement between Christian and Jewish clergy more generally.
During the day, we heard from pairs who shared what they’ve been doing together since the launch of In Good Faith in 2016. In Salford, Rev Christine Threlfall and Rabbi Benjamin Simmonds are working together to address food poverty in their area – an issue of shared concern. Each year prior to Passover, Jewish families clear their homes of any items containing leaven. In Manchester, the church and synagogue redistributed these to local families in need – learning more about one another’s faiths in the process.
During the afternoon, the Archbishop and Chief Rabbi each shared passages of scripture which inspire and motivate them for Christian-Jewish engagement.
Reflecting on the opening verses of Psalm 133, the Chief Rabbi said “the term brothers does not only refer to siblings within a family, or even members of the same faith. It can of course apply to members of different faiths. And so in the spirit of this psalm, it is good and pleasant when Jews and Christians dwell together in amity and unity.”
Reading from Ruth, the Archbishop noted that “The book of Ruth reminds me that God’s grace and love is greater than our capacity to imagine it. Ruth is the outsider, the other. And yet she becomes part of the central story of the people of God. This is not a story of a stranger grudgingly accepted, it is story of welcome and embrace. And of course in Christian theology, through the lineage of David, Ruth is in the genealogy which leads eventually to Jesus.”
In closing, the Chief Rabbi commended In Good Faith, telling the rabbis and priests that “I draw an incredible amount of encouragement from all of you – the fact that you are here today, the fact that you are committed to the journey of interfaith dialogue, experience and interaction.”
The Archbishop commented: “I’m reminded of a verse from the Book of Zechariah: ‘do not despise the day of small things’. Here we are, 70 of us in this room. what difference does that make? As human thing, not a lot. In the light of the grace and power of God, out of this we change the course of things and we change the course of our future.”
Following the event, priests and rabbis will continue to meet in pairs around the country, reflecting together on what they heard from the various speakers and exploring how to put this into action in their local contexts.