Rabbinic students to pair with Christians


The Council of Christians and Jews has provided Leo Baeck College rabbinic students with the opportunity of being paired during their training period with a Christian studying for the clergy.

Twenty students from both faiths attended a Lambeth Palace reception, where they were welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who warmly endorsed the scheme.

Leo Baeck College principal Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris told students: "What I hope each of you will gain from this opportunity is not just someone to phone to find out about things, but that each of us will become a blessing in others' lives."

Rabbinic student and former human rights lawyer Robyn Ashworth-Steen said she looked forward "to talking to people who are on a similar path and exploring our beliefs together as we interface with the secular world".

Those in the buddy scheme will be encouraged to meet monthly to share their experiences.

We hope this will lead to long-term friendships

CCJ's Fiona Hulbert pointed out that "often there isn't space in the training curriculum to learn a lot about other faiths. But these students will be doing it in the best way - moving dialogue out of the classroom and into personal experience as they build a relationship with a contemporary.

"We hope that in some cases these pairings will lead to long-term friendships which will enrich not only their years of training but their future ministries wherever they may find themselves."

The Christian students participating in the scheme are Anglican and Methodist ordinands from The Queen's Foundation, Birmingham. Alison Thomas, a journalist training for ordination, said: "We are all on this journey of faith. It will be a rich and precious journey to be on together."

Rev Ken Howarth, president of the Methodist Conference, praised the "brilliant scheme. The world we're in has need of this dialogue. You can read as many books as you like, but it is only when you meet people who are seeking to live out their faith that you really come to understand."

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