British Columbia Conference of the United Church of Canada (May 4, 1996)

British Columbia Conference of the United Church of Canada at its Annual Meeting on May 4, 1996, passed the following resolution based on a prior resolution submitted to the Conference by Vancouver South Presbytery:

Resolution No. BC-71-01
A call to do something about possible anti-Jewish feelings within the Church

Whereas

  • the Holocaust in which one third of the world's Jewish population was murdered continues to haunt us as a vision of the dark side of Western Culture; and
  • anti-Jewish feeling and teaching in the Church has contributed to and is in large measure responsible for anti-Jewish atrocities down through the ages; and
  • we as Christians can no longer deny nor avoid our responsibility in this matter; and
  • anti-Jewish feeling and teaching is represented in the Scripture readings and preaching of the Church in spite of clear evidence that anti-Jewish sentiment goes against the spirit of both the New Testament and the central message of Church doctrine; and
  • there may well be residual and semi-conscious anti-Jewish sentiment present inUnitedChurchcongregations;

Therefore be it resolved that

British Columbia Conference affirm positive attitudes toward the Jewish community and that the congregations of the Conference make use of the following and similar suggestions in order to enhance our relationship with Jews and to displace any anti-Jewish sentiments:

  1. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul were Jews, neither disclaimed their place as members of Israel, God's chosen people; consequently Gospel proclamation and teaching will adhere to and promote this fact.
  2. When in Scripture readings, the phrase "the Jews" is used in a pejorative sense, the phrase will be replaced by words such as "the Judeans" (southern Jews around Jerusalem as opposed to "the Galileans" of the North) or the use of the term "the Jews" will be explained in terms of the polemic of the time in which the Gospel writers found themselves.
  3. During Holy Week congregations might well be reminded that while some Jews handed Jesus over to the Roman authorities it was Gentiles who killed him and that he died and rose again for Gentiles and Jews alike.
  4. Local Churches are encouraged to use the following prayer during Holy Week or during the next year. The prayer was written by Pope John XXIII shortly before he died. He expressed the hope that it would be read in all Catholic Churches:

"We now recognize that for many centuries our eyes were covered with blindness, so that we no longer saw the beauty of Your chosen people and no longer recognized the features of our firstborn brother. We admit that the sign of Cain is on our forehead. For centuries, Abel was Iying on the ground in blood and tears because we had forgotten Your love. Forgive the curse that we unjustly pronounced over the name of the Jews. Forgive that we crucified You again in their flesh".