An amended motion calling the church to respond to, “opportunities for solidarity and advocacy” and pray for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel, was passed during the Saturday evening session of the 2023 ELCIC Special Convention.
The resolution came forward to convention delegates as a joint motion between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and was the result of many months of listening to partner voices and reflecting on existing statements by the World Council of Churches and the Anglican Communion, and review of reports from Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations. It also comes after a visit to the Holy Land by ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson and ACC Archbishop Linda Nicholls in which they listened carefully to the worry, frustration, and challenges of Palestinian Christians and Muslims in the Occupied Territories.
On Friday, during a joint session of Assembly 2023, Anglican and Lutheran delegates received an introduction to the resolution and heard from Bishop Michael Pryse, Eastern Synod, ELCIC; Bishop Andrew Asbil, Diocese of Toronto, ACC; and Rabbah Gila Caine, Rabbi at Temple Beth Ora congregation, Edmonton.
“The resolution before us today is informed by the voices of our partners in the Holy Land – the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Episcopal Diocese in Jerusalem – who are pleading for us to accompany them in prayer and in action,” said Bishop Pryse.
Following the joint discussion, the resolution was part of the separate business sessions of the Special Convention and General Synod in order to be formally addressed and voted on.
On the floor of the ELCIC Special Convention, discussion on the motion centred around an amendment to remove recommendation four, which called for reflection and study to, “reflect upon the parallels between the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes and lands and the experience of broken treaties and the occupation of unceded territories of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.” During the earlier joint session of the two churches, Rabbah Caine, shared her concern over the same recommendation.
The amendment to remove recommendation four was passed. ELCIC Special Convention delegates passed the amended motion overwhelmingly in favour.
- Jordan Smith, possibility of removing the challenging language (part 4) – some of the effect of the recommendation is lost if this goes to COGS, NCC
- Aneeta, tremendously in favour for what we did today, Rabbi Cane was allowed to speak and address some concerns that needed to happen in what this resolution was saying. The response from our two churches was to have more conversation. “put your action with your words.”
- Shayne ABT – concern that section 4 put our lens onto someone else’s experience
- Tanch – BC – We had a panel … peace for both sides. Grateful for the Rabbi’s perspective. No Palestinians on the panel. How can we have conversation around justice and peace on both sides without presence…
- BC Synod –
- What does it mean to have one group amend the document already? We should take as long as it takes to get it right.
- Lynne H, MNO –
- NCC – Section f, page 10. – new 5e (now 6e – r…)
The resolution emerges at a critical time in the long trajectory of violent conflict between Palestinians and Israelis over the past 75 years.