At its annual General Synod late last month, the third largest church in Canada approved a motion furthering Jewish-Christian interfaith relations.
The Anglican Church of Canada voted to remove a prayer from its Book of Common Prayer that advocated converting Jews. A prayer calling for reconciliation will replace it.
Michael Mostyn, the CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, told JNS that the decision was “an overdue but positive step in the fight against antisemitism.”
“However, this is just the first of many possible actions the Anglican Church can take to help end the rising levels of hate being experienced by Canadian Jewry,” he said.
He called on the church to “function as a major stakeholder in our society” and expressed hope that its leaders “will continue to use their influence to help combat the antisemitic tropes that historically were propagated by the church and that continue to be used to demonize Jewish people.”
Interfaith dialogue requires mutual respect, Rabbi Adam Stein, of the Conservative synagogue Congregation Beth Israel in Vancouver, stated in a release, speaking for the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus and Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
“Any attempt by one to convert the other is the antithesis of respect,” he said. “Changing this prayer represents a milestone in Anglican-Jewish relations and invites Anglicans to assume a reconciliatory stance with the Jewish community.”
Despite this encouraging news, Jewish leaders cited the church’s Peace and Justice in Israel resolution, which was also on the docket at the recent meeting, as problematic.
The resolution “contains troubling material” and “glosses over the role of terrorism in the conflict, ignores Palestinian rejectionism and cites flawed reports,” Sheba Birhanu, CIJA’s associate director of partnerships, told JNS.
“We’re concerned that these contradictory resolutions may compromise the relationship that Jewish and Christian leaders have worked so hard to build,” she said.