Magazine article Anglican Journal

Removal of Prayer for Conversion of the Jews to Be Revisited at General Synod

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Removal of Prayer for Conversion of the Jews to Be Revisited at General Synod

Article excerpt

Another resolution to remove a prayer for the conversion of the Jews from the Book of Common Prayer is likely to come before General Synod in 2019, after a decision made by Council of General Synod (CoGS) November 11.

A resolution to remove the prayer was put to General Synod for a first reading in 2016, but failed narrowly to get the two-thirds approval it needed in all three houses after receiving the support of more than 70% of clergy and laity, but just 65.63% of bishops.

In a presentation to CoGS November 11, Bruce Myers, bishop of Quebec, said the resolution may have failed partly because some members of synod may not have fully understood the context of the resolution. It was introduced then as a housekeeping matter, he said, because General Synod voted to delete a similar collect from the prayer book in 1992, but for some reason, this prayer was overlooked at that time.

When they voted on it in 2016, Myers said, many members of General Synod may not have been aware of "substantial years-long theological reflection and dialogue," both within the Anglican Church of Canada and between it and Canadian Jewish groups, that had led to the 1992 resolution.

Removing the prayer, Myers said, would not only eliminate the inconsistency of deleting one prayer for the conversion of the Jews and keeping another; it would also "represent a small but meaningful gesture in the growth of... important interfaith relationships" the church has been cultivating with Jewish groups in recent years. Myers proposed that another resolution to delete it be put to General Synod, coming this time from CoGS instead of the working group charged with housekeeping resolutions, and that enough historical and theological information be included with it for members of synod to "make a more fully informed decision."

Cynthia Haines-Turner, prolocutor of General Synod, suggested that Myers work with another CoGS member to draft a resolution on the prayer for the next meeting of CoGS, with the understanding that CoGS would then present it to General Synod with the appropriate background information. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, put a motion to this effect before CoGS, which was then approved by consensus.

When the resolution was debated in General Synod in 2016, Archdeacon Alan Perry, of the diocese of Edmonton, said the prayer was objectionable because it singled out the Jews for conversion. …

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