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Friday, July 15, 2005

Anglican miscellany

More on the Anglican disinvestment resolution...

A letter to Rowan Williams from the International Council of Christians and Jews:-

HE The Most Rev. Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace
Great Britain
28 September 2004

Dear Archbishop Williams,

I write in the name of the Executive Board of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) to express deep concern about the report that the Anglican International Justice and Peace Committee will recommend disinvestment from Israel along the lines of the declaration recently adopted by the Presbyterian Church in the United States.

We at the ICCJ feel that such a step by the Anglican Communion would undercut its ability to engage constructively in the Middle East peace process. The ICCJ has strongly supported the Alexandria Declaration process in which your church has played such an important role.

But should the Anglican Communion support the disinvestment proposal it would be undercutting its role as a genuine peacemaker in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Justice and Peace Commission's report strikes us as extremely one-sided. It discusses only injustices against Palestinians without in any way raising criticism of the actions of the Palestinian leadership which has supported terror attacks against Israel. And the Commission's report did not involve any substantive conversations with Israeli representatives, including several of the ICCJ's leadership such as Vice-President Rabbi Ehud Bandel and Honorary President Rabbi Prof. David Rosen who have worked tirelessly over the years on the peace process.

We at the ICCJ are not saying that there must be no criticism of concrete Israeli Policy. But if the Anglican Church hopes to serve as an authentic peacemaker that criticism has to be extended to the Palestinian side as well. The recent book by Middle East peace negotiator Ambassador Dennis Ross is one example of a balanced critique that also proposes constructive actions towards a peaceful settlement.

We at the ICCJ urge you to exercise leadership in this situation and prevent this extremely one-sided assessment from becoming policy for the Anglican Communion. Only in this way will the Anglican Church be able to maintain its important record on constructive Christian-Jewish relations as well as continue its leadership role in Middle East peacemaking.
Sincerely yours,

Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D.
President International Council of Christians and Jews

I find it incomprehensible that Rowan Williams did not take these views on board - or that, at best, he thought they could be accommodated by minor changes to the wording of the APJN resolution. Its symbolic force has not been changed.

In my source for the letter it is followed by a document from two ECUSA bigwigs in which, astoundingly, they refer to the APJN as 'representing the full 77 million member Anglican Communion'. Reverend Sirs, it most certainly does not represent me (nor, as she has asked me to add, my wife)! And if it has any mechanism of accountability to the Anglican Communion as a whole, neither the Anglican Communion website nor the ECUSA site appears to know anything about it.

Lastly, an item from the CaNN blog:

Friday, July 08, 2005

Compare and Contrast: Griswold & Benedict XVI

PB Griswold -My prayers and those of the Episcopal Church in the United States embrace all who have died and have been injured in yesterday's attacks in London. We pray as well for their families and friends. Through this tragedy we are put in mind once again of our common vulnerability.

In order to win the "war on terrorism" we must address its underlying causes and win peace in the Middle East. The three Abrahamic faiths are called to be the servants of God's peace which embraces all people and alone can overcome the fears and hatreds that divide us and prevent us from regarding one another as God's beloved children. May all who call God Father and the Compassionate One be drawn together in a renewed commitment to peacemaking for the sake of God's world.

Pope Benedict -"Deeply saddened by the news of the terrorist attacks in central London the Holy Father offers fervent prayers for the victims and for all those who mourn. While he deplores these barbaric acts against humanity he asks you to convey to the families of the injured his spiritual closeness at this time of grief. Upon the people of Great Britain he invokes the consolation that only God can give in such circumstances."

Note well the date: 8th July. Presiding Bishop Griswold is so sure he knows what the 'underlying causes' are, and so keen to tell us that we are All To Blame, that he could make this statement before anybody had any idea who the bombers were or where they come from. Is he still so certain?

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