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One of the complaints I had about the study paper for the now-adopted statement on the relationship of The Presbyterian Church in Canada and Jewish people was that nowhere did the study seem to take into account the work that other groups had done. As far as I could tell, the writers never bothered to look up what closely related churches, like the Presbyterian Church (USA) or the United Church of Canada, have declared about Christian-Jewish relations, nor did they consult with ecumenical organisations to which The PCC belongs. Well, if they did, they never shared what they learned.

Therefore, I thought it would be good to gather as many statements of Christian groups related to The PCC and of neighbouring churches as I could. If I have missed any, please let me know. The web site ‘Jewish-Christian Relations’ has archived a larger collection of statements, but I wanted to focus on Canadian churches and Presbyterian/Reformed denominations, as well as on related ecumenical groups.

For comparison’s sake, The PCC’s statement can be found in the midst of the 2011 report of the Committee on Church Doctrine, though that was amended (the text of the amendment may be found on page 5 of these minutes given during the General Assembly). Note: these two links will probably disappear when the official Acts & Proceedings are published later this year.

In 2003, a large number of Canadian church leaders from different traditions, including the Moderator of that year’s PCC General Assembly, signed a letter against anti-Semitism. While this is not specifically a statement of relationship, it does illuminate what kind of theological and historical issues need to be considered.

Also from 2003, from the United Church of Canada, Bearing Faithful Witness. (A shorter version of the statement can be found here. Interestingly, while the statements made appear far more generous towards Judaism as a faith than the recent PCC documents, the UCC document also mostly neglects modern Judaism and its diversity, choosing to concentrate on responsible Biblical exegesis.

Back in 1987, the PC (USA) adopted Toward a Theological Understanding of the Relationship Between Christians and Jews. This takes the form of seven affirmations, each receiving short theological commentary. It should be noted that the PC (USA) has had an extremely rocky relationship with Jewish organisations over the last decade based on the denomination’s stand on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the rhetoric around that position. This came to a head in 2008 when the PC (USA) released a document “Calling for Vigilance Against Anti-Jewish Bias” in May and then greatly revised the document in June. The revisions received a scathing review from a coalition of Jewish groups. Neither version appears to be available any longer on the denomination’s web site, and frankly I am uncertain about the status of the document at this moment. (If anyone knows, I would love to hear.) This certainly demonstrates the complexity of the issues involved.

The World Council of Churches has a couple of statements dating from the late 80s and early 90s: one from the Consultation on the Church and the Jewish People which met in Sigtuna, Sweden, in 1988, and another adopted in 1992 specifically to be a basis for dialogue. Both include the recognition of the living tradition of Judaism; the latter specifically points to the need to grapple with the relationship between dialogue and political activism.

The PCC also belongs to the World Communion of Reformed Churches; unfortunately, there is no web version of its book on Reformed Theology and the Jewish People.

Other Canadian Churches

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Anglican Church of Canada does not have a statement specifically on Judaism, but does have guidelines for interfaith dialogue.

European Churches (like the Church of Scotland):

Community of Protestant Churches in Europe

Not specifically Jewish-Christian:

From the World Council of Churches, on dialogue generally with people of other religions.

The Canadian Council of Churches has a very interesting document summarizing the position of 23 Canadian denominations on interfaith dialogue, as discovered by interviewing representatives of the churches.

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