Saturday, September 8

MAJCO statement at the Installation of ELCA Bishop Jessica Crist

This morning, I had the honor of representing the Montana Association of Jewish Communities at the installation of Bishop Jessica Crist. Bishop Crist has been a friend to the Montana Jewish communities for many years. I was honored to give the following remarks:

Twelve years ago, the Montana Association of Jewish Communities and the Montana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America entered into a unique and I think historic compact. For the first time since Martin Luther, representatives of our faiths set aside hundreds of years of ethnic and religious animosity and misunderstanding, and committed ourselves to mutual concord and cooperation. This compact would not have existed were it not for the vision, coordination and hard work of the Reverend Jessica Crist.

I am honored today to represent the Montana Association of Jewish Communities, and witness the occasion of the Reverend’s installation as a Bishop within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Jewish communities in our State send their welcome and and congratulations to the Reverend Crist and the Montana Synod.

Our faiths have a shared heritage dating back to Abraham. Unfortunately, that shared heritage has been marred by too many people and too many ideologies that were were more interested in fostering division than in dialogue.

However, since the the ELCA’s 1994 “Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the Jewish Community,” Lutheran-Jewish dialogue has continued to grow and prosper. Indeed, today our synagogue in Great Falls shares space with an ELCA church. We welcome this dialogue, and continue to thank the Reverend Crist for all her efforts over the years to work toward understanding between our faiths.

While much has been accomplished, much work remains to be done. Centuries are not overcome in moments. However, we have built a strong foundation. With that foundation, I and Jews throughout our great State look forward to continuing to work with Bishop Crist to celebrate our diversity and to deepen our shared appreciation of our traditions and our cultures.

Mazel Tov, Bishop Crist!

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