The past few weeks at CCJ have been immensely rewarding. In recent years, Senior Programme Manager, Rob Thompson has led training for alumni of the Yad Vashem programme for Christian clergy to equip them with resources and ideas to run events to mark HMD in their local communities. This year was particularly important as we marked the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and I’m proud to share with you that due to Rob’s training and the special prayer written for Christian communities for HMD 2020, endorsed by our Christian presidents, CCJ engaged with close to 100,000 people this HMD which is over ten times the figure of the previous year. More detail of activities by Church communities and Yad Vashem alumni can be found below.
This week Programme Manager Esther Sills organised the second refugee workshop to learn more about how to support refugees on the World Day of Social Justice. Since CCJ was established in part to support Jewish refugees its an absolutely core part of our mission as Christians and Jews to support refugees today. We are very thankful to Near Neighbours for supporting this project and to Esther for taking this forward. Esther hopes to run further workshops around the UK in the coming year so watch this space!
This week Campus Leadership Manager Katharine Crew attended a service to mark the 130th anniversary of the Student Christian Movement (SCM) where she was delighted to hear from others about the impact of our work on campus due to the Campus Leadership Programme.
Below you can find an invitation to the launch of a new CCJ resource: Listening and Learning: Dialogue between Christians and Jews on issues relating to Israel Palestine which will take place at Methodist Church House. We hope this resource will be helpful in local dialogues around the UK on this issue.
Last Thursday CCJ commemorated World Day of Social Justice by collaborating with Refugee Support Network to run an Interfaith Refugee Training Workshop. In this workshop we explored the ways in which our faith intersects with our duty to help refugees; developed our understanding of who refugees are and the reality they face in the UK; and constructed individual tangible action plans to identify how each of us can offer support.
The workshop was held in Westminster Abbey and was kindly sponsored by our partners at Near Neighbours. The event was fully attended; and has taken our total number of faith leaders/community members trained in supporting refugees up to 73!
It was an honour to be leading this project, and at this difficult time of growing divide and polarisation, it was hopeful to see so many at the training coming together and passionately striving to bring healing, and justice. One participant shared that CCJ’s workshop “Re-energised (their) commitment to raising awareness of refugees and their needs within (their) faith community” and another stating that the workshop revealed to them how “we can help refugees in many different areas and that everyone has a skill that can be used to offer support”.
Supporting the rights of refugees has been an intrinsic part of CCJ’s work since its very formation in 1942 and now more than ever the continuation of this work is crucial. Through dialogue, education and social action we shall continue to promote an ethos of united humanity in which the rights of all human beings are respected and upheld: including the rights of those seeking refuge today.
Esther Sills Programme Manager
CCJ’s Yad Vashem Alumni Network reaches nearly 100,000 people for Holocaust Memorial Day
We are delighted to announce that through CCJ’s Yad Vashem Alumni Network—a unique collective of Christian clergy and church leaders who have participated in our annual Yad Vashem seminars—we have reached over 97,000 people around Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). Yad Vashem alumni organised a range of school assemblies and church services using CCJ’s HMD resources, exhibitions in local libraries, prayer stations including the placing of memorial stones, and opportunities for young people and local communities to hear the testimonies of survivors of the Holocaust. Highlights of alumni activities included, but were by no means limited to: a special prayer written by the Church of England dioceses of Winchester and Portsmouth and used by all their primary school children; a talk by Kindertransportee Ruth Schwiening, kindly arranged in partnership with the Association of Jewish Refugees, at Lichfield Cathedral for 400 secondary school pupils; an installation of an ‘empty chair’ memorial in a city-centre church in Newcastle; a talk by survivor Mala Tribich in the Welsh Assembly; a visit to the National Holocaust Centre by a joint Methodist-Anglican group from Lincoln; and a joint talk in a United Reformed Church in Exeter by the daughter of Holocaust survivors and the grandson of an SS officer.
We are extremely proud to work with church leaders around the UK to remember the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The numbers reached by the Yad Vashem Alumni Network are evidence of the huge potential which Christian clergy and educators have, as leaders in their community, to enable large-scale engagement with Holocaust commemoration and education. Through them we are ensuring that a diverse range of communities and individuals remember the lives of the victims of the Holocaust and the stories of those who survived.
Rob Thompson Senior Programme Manager
Pictured: CCJ’s ‘A Righteous Flame’ created by Yad Vashem Alumni
Campus Leadership Manager at Student Christian Movement’s 130th Anniversary Celebration
I was at Coventry Cathedral last Saturday to mark the 130th anniversary of the Student Christian Movement (SCM). While celebrating the achievements of the organisation over the last 130 years, the event also looked to the future with the commissioning of new CEO Rev Naomi Nixon.
We have been pleased to work with SCM over the last four years, with some of our Student Leaders coming from SCM societies. It was encouraging to hear from students at the celebration about the lasting effects of CCJ interfaith events at their universities. We look forward to working with more Student Leaders from SCM societies and I was pleased to meet with students and chaplains at the event who are keen to run the Campus Leadership Programme at their universities.
Katharine Crew Campus Leadership Manager
Pictured: Commisioning of new CEO Rev Naomi Nixon
Applications open for 2020 Yad Vashem Seminar
Applications are now open for CCJ’s annual seminar at the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The seminar—which will take place Monday 12 to Thursday 22 October 2020—is open to ordained Christian clergy and lay church leaders. Now in its 14th year, the seminar is a unique opportunity for church leaders to learn about the Holocaust, pre-war Jewish European life, and post-Holocaust theology from the world’s leading experts. In doing so, participants will become part of our active network of over 250 "alumni" across the UK, committed to passing on Holocaust learning in their churches and communities, championing Christian-Jewish relations, and challenging antisemitism.
For more information on the programme and how to apply, please contact Senior Programme Manager, Rob Thompson, at email@example.com
Legacy of Revd James Parkes to be explored at the Wiener Library
From 16 – 20 March The Wiener Holocaust Library in London will host the travelling exhibition James Parkes and the age of intolerance. This exhibition—which CCJ has been proud to help bring to a number of cathedrals in the UK—reflects on the life and legacy of the Revd James Parkes, a key personality in the founding of CCJ and one of the leading thinkers, writers, and campaigners in twentieth century Jewish-Christian relations. You can find out more about the exhibition here.On Thursday 19 March 18.30-20.00 our Senior Programme Manager Rob Thompson will join a panel to discuss the work of James Parkes. Alongside Rob will be speakers Prof Tony Kushner, Marcus Sieff Professor in Jewish/non-Jewish relations at the University of Southampton, and Dr Barbara Warnock, Senior Curator and Head of Education at The Wiener Holocaust Library. Please do join us to reflect on Parkes’ extraordinary legacy and the repercussions of his work in contemporary issues as well. You can sign up for this free event here.
CCJ Branch Events
CCJ Finchley Branch event
Elizabeth Harris Sawczenko, Director of CCJ will join the CCJ Finchley branch to talk about the continuing importance of Christian - Jewish dialogue and of reaffirming CCJ principles of promoting understanding, valuing difference and challenging prejudice.
Time: 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm,24th February 2020
Venue: Blue Beetle (small building to the left of St Mary-at-Finchley; entrance via blue door) 26 Hendon Lane, N3 1TR
Refreshments will be served.
To get in contact with the Finchley branch please click here.
CCJ Bournemouth & Wessex Branch event
CCJ Bournemouth & Wessex welcome Dr Helen Spurling again to lead another series of three Study afternoons, organised through partnership between The Parkes Institute and The Council of Christians and Jews Bournemouth & Wessex:
The title for this afternoon is – ‘Unusual/unconventional women in the Bible: Session 1 – Eve’
Please note: It is necessary to register as handouts will be provided.