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Media Release
E.C.A.J. (Executive Council of Australian Jewry)
27 November 2001

The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) and the Executive Council of 
Australian Jewry (ECAJ) convened their second formal Dialogue meeting for the year 2001 last week, the fifteenth in a series of frank and open discussions since the inception of the process in 1992.

The meeting was co-chaired by Jeremy Jones for the ECAJ and John Bodycomb for the UCA. Dr Bodycomb, one of the founding participants in the Dialogue, was attending his final meeting as part 
of the UCA delegation.

Summarising the Dialogues, Dr Bodycomb quoted three rules for dialogue enunciated by the former Harvard scholar Krister Stendahl, long a major player in Christian-Jewish dialogue:
Let the other define himself (herself)
Compare equal with equal
Cultivate 'holy envy' - finding in the other something beautiful, but not yours.

"We have to keep returning constantly to such guidelines", he said.

"As a result, we have had some major breakthroughs in expressing ourselves with great candour and feeling - on such sensitive issues as the stalled peace process in the Holy Land."

Jones and Bodycomb noted: "We are constantly aware that dialogue is about process as much as it is about content". "Only as we hold to certain rules of dialogue is it possible to achieve anything of value", they said.

"The Dialogues are a unique opportunity for senior representatives of the Jewish community and the Uniting Church to discuss, fully and openly, matters of great concern to each and both of us", Jones added.

The November 2001 Dialogue covered a range of subjects, including the way in which Israel and related issues are understood  within the Australian community, the antisemitic content of the NGO Forum of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban this year, the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist incidents and 
the responsibility of Jews and Christians in the wake of that tragedy, and the determining of a set of objectives for the Dialogue for future years.

"There are a number of matters of national importance on which Jews and Christians can present a united front", Bodycomb and Jones said.

The group has scheduled meetings for May and November 2002 with contact and mutual activity on social justice issues to continue between formal meetings.

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