Spring 2015

Present:Vicki Barnett, Jim Bernauer, Robert Cathey, Phil Cunningham, Adam Gregerman, Katharina von Kellenbach, Ruth Langer, Michael McGarry, John Pawlikowski, Peter Pettit, Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Karla Suomala, Demetrios Tonias.
Absent: Mary Boys, Gene Fisher, Esther Menn, , Elena Procario-Foley, Reggie Williams

The business meeting was spread across several sessions, but are combined into a single report below.

The minutes of the fall 2014 meeting at Muhlenberg College were unanimously approved.

Chair Karla Suomala welcomed Adam Gregerman and Ruth Langer as participants for the first time in the new membership category of Jewish consultors and thanked them for being with the Group on Shabbat.

Membership Committee:

Peter Pettit led a discussion of proposed revisions to the Membership Norms to incorporate the new membership category of Jewish consultors. This category had been approved in the principle at the fall 2014 meeting at Muhlenberg College. After discussion on the question whether the consultors would have both voice and vote at business meetings, all of the proposed revisions were unanimously approved. The revisions will henceforth appear in the online version of the Membership Norms.

Robert Cathey moved the Membership Committee's advice to renew for five-years the memberships of Eugene Fisher, John Pawlikowski, and Elena Procario-Foley. This motion was approved unanimously.

New members: A motion to invite Heather Miller-Rubens to membership was approved unanimously. This invitation was later extended by Karla Suomala and accepted by Heather Miller-Rubens. (In order to stagger the membership renewals, her membership will be renewed with the "class" of 2017).

A general discussion ensued about potential new members. Kirsi Stjerna and Brooks Schramm, Angela Harkins, Fairfield University, and Jennifer Peace, Andover-Newton School of Theology, will be invited to offer guest presentations at the spring 2016 meeting. Other potential new members mentioned were: John Clabeaux, Michael Peppard, and Dan Joslyn-Siematkoski.

Phil Cunningham asked if all members would please let him know of errors or needed updates to the membership contact list on the CSG webpages.

Nostra Aetate anniversary initiatives

1. Draft Statement on "Jewish-Christian Relations for the Present Time"

Peter Pettit led a discussion of a potential draft statement by CSG members to mark the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate that he and Elena Procario-Foley had prepared. The topics of the nature of the text, for whom and by whom it was written and to what purpose it was being written were all considered. It was generally viewed as an effort by the CSG to speak to Christian communities about the importance of deepening relations with Jews and to sent a future agenda for this.

Peter explained that he and Elena fashioned the draft on four basic shifts that they saw occurring since 1965. Several members then offered observations about various features of the draft and suggested revisions and additions. Several negative comments were made about the mention of September 11th in the opening sentences. Sentences dealing with the State of Israel also attracted many comments.

Peter will confer with Elena on the basis of the discussion and they will revise the draft accordingly. This will be made available to the members for further refinement. It is hoped that by means of e-mail conversation a more developed draft might be achieved by the fall 2015 meeting, be further discussed, and possibly finalized.

2. Symposium in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations

Various ideas and suggestions for developing a series of CSG member-authored articles were discussed. The following is a tentative list of possibilities with very provisional topics and titles. Members not present will be contacted by Karla Suomala and asked to compose articles.
  •  Michael McGarry: Preaching without antisemitism
  • Robert Cathey: Why would Presbyterians turn to a Catholic document?
  • Katharina von Kellenbach: Memory and Forgetting: The Purification of Memory (dependent on AAR proposal)
  • Adam Gregerman: Nostra Aetate, Covenant, and Israel (dependent on AAR proposal)
  • Vicky Barnett: How do you integrate J-C dialogue into wider dialogue of world religions?
  • Demetrios Tonias: Nostra Aetate and Orthodox Christianity
  • Heather Miller-Rubens: Mapping the Borders between Ecclesial and Popular Dialogue
  • Reggie Williams: Nostra Aetate and Race
  • The CSG's Nostra Aetate +50 statement
by emeriti:
  • Frank Sherman: Lutherans and Nostra Aetate at 50
  • Peter Phan: What if Nostra Aetate were written by Asian Christians?
other possibilities:
  • Peter Pettit: book review of A Jubilee for All Time, ed. Gil Rosenthal
  • Phil Cunningham: a reworking of article discussed at the current meeting: "Putting the Nos in Nostra Aetate."
  • Karla Suomala's essay on intermarriage also discussed at the current meeting.
  • C-J Relations and people under Thirty: Ben Barer and "State of Formation" to be consulted by Vicky Barnett.
It was the general consensus to try to have drafts of all the above ready for discussion at the fall meeting at Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia. Further details to be worked out online. There was also discussion about a public event at SJU in connection with the above. Again, details to be developed online.

Respectfully submitted,

-Phil Cunningham

Fall 2014

Muhlenberg College

Attending: Vicki Barnett, Jim Bernauer, Mary Boys, Robert Cathey, Phil Cunningham, Alice Eckhardt, Katharina von Kellenbach, Esther Menn, John Pawlikowski, Peter Pettit, Elena Procario-Foley, Karla Suomala, Frank ShermanAbsent: Gene Fisher, Bjorn Krondorfer, Michael McGarry, Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Demetrios Tobias, Reggie Williams
Karla Suomala opened the meeting at 9:40 AM. Before the approval of the Spring, 2014 minutes there were two clarifying additions: The Spring, 2015 meeting at Boston College will take place on March 13-15; the Fall, 2015 meeting will be at the Raphaela Center outside Philadelphia from October 9-11.
The membership committee report was presented by its chair Robert Cathey.
     There was discussion of whether Demetrios Tobias should continue to hold one of the CSG regular slots if he is only able to attend one meeting a year. There was consideration of the future membership. Phil Cunningham pointed out that the desirability of including younger scholars in the group does change the original description of its membership as constituted by scholars who have already published in the field. Phil also suggested there should be an invited Jewish participant at future sessions.  It was pointed out that this might lead to the need for change in the dates of the seminars as a result of Sabbath observance. There was an inconclusive discussion of whether the by-laws would need to be changed for inclusion of a Jewish member/participant. It was recommended that a concrete proposal for such Jewish participation be formally drawn up, which Phil agreed to draft. It was suggested that Adam Gregerman of Saint Joseph’s University might be invited to sit in on the Fall, 2015 meeting.
     The announcement was made that those who are up for membership renewal and who wish to continue in the CSG should notify the membership committee. Three members are currently up for renewal: Gene Fisher, Elena Procario-Foley and John Pawlikowski.
     There was discussion of potential members for the CSG. Heather Miller-Rubins will be invited to give a paper at the Spring meeting in Boston. If she is not able to accept, the invitation will be extended to Joel Lohr. Brooks Schramm and Kirsi Stjerna will be invited to make a presentation at the Fall, 2015 meeting. Other potential members mentioned were Michael Chan and Emma O’Donnell.
The program committee report. At the Spring, 2015 meeting there will be discussion led by Elena and Phil on what a contemporary version of chapter 4 of “Nostra Aetate” might look like. Should the members write up essays on this theme for a journal publication? Perhaps two sessions should be devoted to this topic. In addition, there will be presentations by Katharina and Reggie on the issue of race, and by Mary Boys and Heather Miller-Rubins. As far as events and projects connected to the “Nostra Aetate” anniversary were concerned, several possibilities were delegated: publication in SCJR (Karla and Ruth Langer); a panel discussion at Boston College (Jim B.); a Tweet-a-Day (Michael); Contact with the Andover-Newton “Circle” and its journal (Vicki); an AAR panel (Katharina and John) about which Jean-Pierre should be consulted; World Parliament of Religions (John P.). There was also general discussion of the potential resources of the Paulist web site as well as other internet capabilities.
The business concluded at 11 AM, 30 minutes later than the originally scheduled time.
Respectfully submitted,
Jim Bernauer

Spring 2013

Present: Victoria Barnett, James Bernauer, Mary Boys, Robert Cathey, Phil Cunningham, Alice Eckardt, Eugene Fisher, Katharina von Kellenbach, Michael McGarry, Esther Menn, Peter Pettit, Elena Procario-Foley, Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Karla Suomala

1. Approval of the minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the October 6, 2012 meeting were unanimously approved as submitted.

2. Committee Reports

Membership Committee:

JPR presented the report of the committee, recommending that Robert Cathey, Philip Cunningham, Peter Pettit, and Jean-Pierre Ruiz be re-elected for a subsequent five year term. The membership unanimously approved the recommendation.

The committee considered the possibility of inviting Reginald Williams to become a member of the CSG. The CSG voted unanimously to invite Reginald Williams to join the CSG. KvK will send a draft letter to the membership committee for its review and revision. 

Program Committee:

The Fall meeting of the CSG will take place at Iona College in conjunction with the CCJR meeting October Friday, October 18 to Sunday, October 20,  2013. The committee opened the floor to possible program proposals.

  • The members commended the program committee for its excellent work in preparing the program for the Spring 2013 meeting.

  • M. McGarry proposed that Paul Knitter be invited to present a paper at the Fall 2013 meeting, or to the Spring 2014 meeting, because her will be retiring from Union Theological Seminary. [Paul has accepted our invitation to join us at the Spring 2014 meeting.]

  • M. McGarry called for suggestions from the membership regarding work-in-progress.

  • P. Cunningham suggested that there be a report on the Promise, Land, and Hope project.

  • J-P Ruiz expressed willingness to present a paper on Liberation Theology and its implications for Christian-Jewish Dialogue, in conjunction with the presentation at the August 13-15 Promise, Land, and Hope meeting

  • K. Suomala expressed willingness to present a report on her involvement with the Eboo Patel Interfaith Youth Corps interfaith studies curriculum project.

  • E. Menn will be giving a paper on Israel and the Land in Jewish biblical theology, “The View from Mount Pisgah,” and offered to present at the Fall 2013 meeting.

  • The Exhibit on John Paul II and the Jewish People: A Blessing to One Another will be at BC in Spring 2014. It was suggested that there be a panel on this exhibit.

  • Possible dates for the Spring 2014 meeting (at Boston College): March 28-30, 2014

3. Old Business

The CSG moved that we express thanks to J. Bernauer, to Camille Markey, and to Boston College for their gracious hospitality.

The Creed Project has come to a close

E. Fisher noted that 2015 is the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate and suggested that the group draft a statement. Discussion ensued, including:

  • P. Cunningham added that the distinctive perspective of the CSG is its ecumenical dimension. A focus on what questions remain might be a useful focus.

  • A. Eckardt suggested that we also refer to a contemporary Protestant document

  • M. Boys suggested that something on the order of A Sacred Obligation be drafted, and suggested that we deal with some specific Scripture texts that occur in the lectionary, particularly during Advent, Lent & Easter. This would be more useful than a statement of general principles.

  • P. Cunningham identified the lectionary question as an issue that remains unresolved 50 years after Nostra Aetate.

  • K. Suomala suggested that we consider the phenomenon of interfaith marriage. We should be involved in these discussions.

  • E. Procario Foley, in the light of the lectionary discussion, invited us to include consideration of hymnals.

  • E. Menn: Would CSG consider cooperation with Luther Seminary’s Working Preacher project?

  • J-P Ruiz proposed a session for the Fall 2013 meeting where CSG would devote considerable time to planning and brainstorming our projects moving forward.

  • E. Procario Foley offered to approach Anselm Academic toward possible collaborative projects.

  • K. von Kellenbach suggested that we take time to do some “homework” prior to the fall 2013 meeting: in the light of the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, how should the CSG move into the future. What are the questions that remain open? What issues call for further attention? What learnings from CSG’s past are relevant? What are the public responsibilities of CSG?

  • J-P Ruiz will receive recommendations from the membership for a statement.

K. von Kellenbach will continue as chair for one additional year. A process needs to be put in place for a nominations committee to move forward. It was suggested that the past three chairs serve as a nominating committee.

The meeting adjourned at 12:10 PM

Respectfully Submitted

Jean-Pierre Ruiz

Fall 2012

Present: Victoria  Barnett, Mary Boys, Robert Cathey, Philip Cunningham, Alice Eckardt, Eugene Fisher, Bjorn Krondorfer, Michael McGarry, John Thaddeus Martin Pawlikowski, Peter Petttit, Elena Procario-Foley, Karla Suomala, Frank Sherman

Absent: James  Bernauer, Rosann Catalano, Katherina von Kellenbach, Ester Menn, Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Demetrios E. Tonias


Philip Cunningham chaired the meeting at the request of Katherina von Kellenbach; it commenced at 2:03pm.

  1. Approval of minutes from CSG April 2012 meeting approved unanimously, moved by Frank Sherman and seconded by Alice Eckhardt. 

  2. CSG Projects:

    1. Wisdom of the Elders Oral History Project: Committee is Frank Sherman, Alice Eckhardt, and Eugene Fisher

    Questions were sent to: John Pawlikowski, Joe Tyson, Walter Harrelson, Eva Fleischner, Clark Williamson, Norman Beck, and John Townsend. The committee received responses from everyone but Clark Williamson whom they can’t seem to reach.  Two responses were received from John Townsend; Alice Eckhardt read parts of his responses.  Fleischner’s and Beck’s responses were brief.

    The questions that were posed were in two categories:

            1. Questions on the development of the CSG:

a. What were the initial questions of Jewish-Christian dialogue? Have any of them been resolved? Do any of these questions remain unresolved?

b. Why did the name of the CSG change? Which discussions helped shape and change the identity of the CSG?

c. What do you consider the CSG’s most significant accomplishments over the years?

d. What were its greatest obstacles and failures?

e. Which (political, scholarly, personal, institutional) strategies affected Jewish-Christian relations most profoundly over the decades?

f. What were the CSG’s gravest obstacles or failures?

            2. Questions on your personal development as a member of the CSG:

a. What brought you to the topic of Jewish-Christian dialogue? What were your attitudes and expectations? How much contact did you have with Jews?

b. How has this engagement impacted your faith?

c. Which events in Jewish-Christian relations do you consider most significant?

d. How have attitudes between Jews and Christians changed?

e. Which problems remain?

Committee sent the letter with the questions along with the lengthy history of the group, list of published materials used in early years, list of papers given, list of guests – as far as the committee was able to reconstruct.

PC posed question about the video-interview possibility so that no threads were lost from previous discussions.  People agreed that the video option could not be pursued at this time. 

Katharina said in an email to AE that she would like to see CSG compile a reflective history to celebrate accomplishments and chart course for the future.

FS: I don’t think two-page responses are helpful. What is the status of the Merkle book?

MB says perhaps we should consider a new volume organized thematically; we could still write in the first person.

VB suggests we go in future directions of the dialogue some of which were suggested by Karla’s morning presentation.

PC says if Merkle book is going out of print and if we can get copyright we could put in on the website.

AE asks what committee should do at this point?

PC says work seems to be complete if the earliest members have been surveyed.

PC - was anyone polled who was not in the Merkle book? John Townsend

PC will pursue copyright end of it with John Merkle.

  1. Jillian Maxey, Ph.D. student at BC

PC: second item Jillian Maxey, student of Ruth Langer is interested in the question of how influential the relationships between Jews and Christians have been and how it affected Christian engagement with the issues and rethinking the issues. The following suggestions were offered for her assistance:

            EF: A.J. Rudin’s book on the three cardinals;

            JTMP: H.H. Hendrick’s book

            MB: Jim Fredericks article on interreligious friendship

PC announced that Camille Markey is on maternity leave and Jillian Maxey is filling in for her and so will be at the spring meeting and might be asked to present. Decision taken for Maxey to speak with CSG in April.

  1. Committee Reports

    1. Membership Committee 

    Peter said he, MB, JPR are committee. JPR is chair and there’s not been a meeting of the committee. PC notes that JPR had an obligation with the State Department and was excused from the meeting.

    Marty Michaelson was pleased to know he was still being considered but he is not available for membership at this time due to other scholarly projects.

    Reggie Williams, Bob Cathey’s colleague was interested in coming to the BC meeting.

    Slots open: we think one slot is open for an evangelically-oriented member; Bob Cathey said Reggie Williams might fit that ticket.  Alice says there was a list that should be reviewed.  Mary Boys suggests Alan Lai in Ontario at Waterloo Seminary; wrote a dissertation on why Asians should be interested in Jewish-Christian relations. Question about whether it is 1 or 2 slots open.

    A notification was issued by the membership committee that: Robert Cathey, Phil Cunningham, Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Peter Pettit must indicate to the membership committee by the end of this meeting whether they will seek readmission for another term; a month after the meeting they must submit reapplication.

    Confusion over membership lists and terms; the lists that PP has do not seem to be consistent with the entering class cohorts.  PP says if he switches with Katharina then the cohorts will seem to be back together and it’s only a one-to-one switch.

    PC notes that the membership committee vets the application and that two of the committee members are up for reevaluation. FS says the member of the committee must recuse him/herself from reevaluation and the other 2 can conduct the reevaluation.

    MB will notify JPR.

    PP: VB and RC are class of 2017.  EP-F class of 2015.

    1. Program Committee

    Michael McGarry, Karla Suomala, Phil Cunningham

    Spring Program

    John Connelly will be our principle guest in Boston in April thanks to James Bernauer’s largess and initiative.  Karla will confirm that he will be with CSG for the entire meeting and what will be the content of his presentation to CSG vs the public BC presentation.

    Reggie Williams will present given the decisions at this meeting. His dissertation is on how what Bonhoeffer learned in Harlem reframed the Jewish-Christian question when he returned to Germany. Program committee tasked Bob with task of extending the invitation to his colleague Williams.

    Jillian Maxey will speak with CSG for half a session

                Future Program Ideas:

    AE suggests Tyson’s book on Acts to be considered by the program committee

    KS suggests Caitlin Carenen’s work based on her book The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel

    MMc suggests that if we invite her we should do it during a Boston meeting for ease of transportation even if it is 2014.  VB says she could check in with her to see if she is still working in this area. MMc said he would ask her

    PC says he needs to check with JB on budget.

    EF suggests that program committee consider Christian Athans’ work on quest for the Jewish Mary.

    MB suggests Paul Knitter for CSG perhaps next fall.  He wanted to come but just couldn’t fit it in for 12-13.

    BK: new Muslim colleague – Mohammed Mohammed - from Cairo very much involved in trilateral but under the radar.  BK will meet with his group in NY later this month so at that point BK will have a better sense of his value for different dialogues. 

  2. Future Meetings
  • Spring: Boston April 5-7, 2012
  • Fall: Nov 8-10, 2013 or October 25-27. All present can make Nov date; BK unavailable on Oct date.
  • Suggestion to connect next year with CCJR mtg at Manhattan college
  • MB will look into Landmark so members of both could go from CSG to CCJR
  1. Old Business

PP: looked into CSG url pointer; Group voted on www.csg-cjr.org

  1. New Business

McCormick alumni relations will be traveling with Bob Cathey and Reggie Williams to the spring meeting to set up McCormick alumni events.  Can she sit in on the meeting in spring?  Group says yes but not business meeting

BK asked about status of Wikipedia page for CSG. PC says someone had created a page who was not a member.  JPR was already an editor on Wikipedia and went in and updated it.

PC – 50th anniversary of NA is in sight; it’s a very important moment to continue to raise awareness of the importance of the dialogue and the issues involved.

  1. Adjournment: AE moves to adjourn; EF seconds. Let the minutes reflect that the meeting closed 8 minutes early.