Council of General Synod (CoGS) listen to an explanation behind the proposal for "Jerusalem Sunday." Photo: Marites N. Sison
General Synod will be presented this July with resolutions focusing on “peace with justice for all in Palestine and Israel” and educating Canadian Anglicans about the “life and witness” of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
The Council of General Synod (CoGS), at its spring meeting, voted to recommend a resolution urging General Synod to “commit to act together” with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the United Church of Canada (UCC) in pursuing “peace with justice for all in Palestine and Israel.”
This includes working together in such areas as educating members about “the impact of the illegal settlements on the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis, and about imported products identified as produced in or related to the illegal settlements and misleadingly labeled as produced in Israel, and about the complexities of economic advocacy measures.”
The resolution does not call for a boycott of such products from Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, a measure the UCC adopted at its General Council in 2012.
The resolution, submitted by the partners in mission and eco-justice committee (PIMEJ) includes a commitment to “enable deeper church-wide awareness of and response to the call of Kairos-Palestine: A Moment of Truth,” which offers a Christian Palestinian perspective about occupation of Palestine. As well, it includes a pledge to “explore and challenge theologies and beliefs, such as Christian Zionism, in support of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories,” to strengthen relations with Canadian Jews and Muslims, and “resolutely oppose anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.”
CoGS also recommended a resolution to observe the seventh Sunday of Easter as Jerusalem Sunday. On that day, commonly known as the Sunday after the Ascension, special focus will be given to learning about the Diocese of Jerusalem, which covers the areas of Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria; a special collection will also be requested for that diocese’s ministries in education, reconciliation, healthcare and hospitality.
Archbishop Colin Johnson, diocesan bishop of Toronto and metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario, said he was in favour of the motion, but noted that his own diocese recommends that Sundays not be designated for any purpose other than those dictated by the liturgical calendar.
Johnson also recommended that background resources for Jerusalem Sunday not include any changes to the day’s readings.
The primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, said advisory council of the Canadian Companions to Jerusalem had chosen the seventh Sunday of Easter because the propers (liturgy) on that day are appropriate to the theme.
The declaration of Jerusalem Sunday would provide “a tangible example of support” from the Anglican Church of Canada to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, which have been companions in mission for many years, said Andrea Mann, General Synod global relations co-ordinator.
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Marites N. Sison is editor of the Anglican Journal.
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