Report on the Fifth Annual Meeting

Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

Report on the Fifth Annual Meeting

October 6, 2006 - Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA

Call to order: The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m. by the chair, Peter Pettit.

Present : Judy Banki (Tanenbaum), Tim Braun (Aurora), Phil Cunningham, Audrey Doetzel, Ruth Langer (BC), Gemma DelDuca and Lois Sculco (Seton Hill), Ann Heekin (Sacred Heart), William Madges (St. Joseph), John Pawlikowski (CTU), Elena Procario-Foley (Iona), Gil Rosenthal (NCS), Ron Simkins (Creighton), Peter Zaas (Siena). Guest: Carl Choper from the Religion and Society Center in Harrisburg.

Welcome: The chair welcomed new regular member Ron Simkins from the Kripke Center at Creighton University . Also welcomed was Ann Heekin, joining us for the first time from Sacred Heart. Joe Sievers of new affiliate member, the Bea Centre for Jewish Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University , conveyed regrets at having a conflict with the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee meeting in South Africa . A new regular member, Kings College in London , Canada has just come into full existence and is expected to join us next year.

Rules Modification: A motion was unanimously approved to modify the meeting rules in the absence of a quorum to permit any motions requiring a vote at this meeting to include the entire regular membership via e-mail by October 13, 2006 .


  • Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations :
    • Co-editor Phil Cunningham conveyed the regrets of co-editor Ed Kessler who could not be present because of a conflict with a board meeting of his center in Cambridge .
    • The inaugural volume of the CCJR's journal has recently closed. It contained 13 peer-reviewed articles, nine reviews, one review-essay, and two conference proceedings. Scholars from five nations contributed. There have been between 150 and 350 downloads of each article to date.
    • Phil expressed thanks to the peer reviewers; the reviews editors: Emmanouela Grypeou, Helen Spurling, and David Sandmel; and especially to managing editor Audrey Doetzel for their work in making the first volume successful.
    • Phil announced several changes for volume two:
      * Each volume will now coincide with the calendar year and contain three issues per year.
      * To make the reviews process more efficient, Ruth Langer will become the only reviews editor.
    • Phil urged that CCJR members contribute articles for peer-review and conference proceedings from local events to be published in the journal. More materials from the more than two dozen regular and affiliate CCJR members are needed. Phil suggested negotiating with speakers in advance that they prepare their lectures for publication. There is also a dearth of articles from Jewish scholars. Also, a strength of electronic publishing is the speed with which materials can be published. When members offer speedy peer reviews when asked (as happened this year) the journal is further enhanced.
    • All present thanked Phil and Ed for their work as co-editors.
  • International Council of Christians and Jews
    • John Pawlikowski, ICCJ president, told of the financial transition ICCJ is experiencing due to changes in support from the German government. For instance, there is presently no ICCJ general secretary.
    • Consideration is being given to reconfigure ICCJ membership as not defined by national memberships, but instead as a networking of organizations and institutions.
    • There is a need for new membership on the ICCJ Board. CCJR members might consider this.
    • The Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches is collaborating with ICCJ on a review of the draft of the WCC statement on the Nature and Mission of the Church.
    • An ongoing question is the degree to which Christian-Jewish relations organizations relate to Islam.
    • Another ICCJ concern is the need to be a presence in Asia and Africa .
    • Peter Pettit noted that the CCJR Board had suggested to ICCJ that the two groups jointly sponsor quadrennial meetings in the USA as a way of assisting both organizations and in somewhat renewing the old National Workshop model. The first possible year for this would be in 2009.
    • The next ICCJ annual meeting will be in Sydney , July 8-12, 2007.
  • Membership
    • Vice-chair Michael Signer is going to inquire about the status of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity, formerly located at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati .

Old Business

  1. Individual Memberships.
    • Those present discussed and unanimously approved the following amendment to the By-laws, which creates a new category of CCJR membership. Regular members not present are asked to vote yea or nay on this motion by October 13, 2006:
    • "Individual members are individuals active in the field of Christian-Jewish relations who are invited to attend annual CCJR meetings but do not participate in the business meeting."
    • N.B. An application form and general announcements will be prepared if this motion is adopted.
    • Addendum: the revision was approved electronically by the general membership by November 15, 2006.
  2. Treasurer's Report:
    • Phil Cunningham, secretary/treasurer, presented the budget report and proposed budget for 2006-2007. (See separate documents.) The latter was approved unanimously. Regular members not present are asked to approve the proposed budget by October 13, 2006 .
    • Addendum: the budget was approved electronically by the general membership by November 15, 2006.

New Business

  • Chair Peter Pettit announced that circumstances at Muhlenberg College require him to resign as chair of the CCJR. The CCJR Board has appointed at-large Board member Elena Procario-Foley to complete the two years remaining in Peter's term. All present thanked Peter for his five years of service to CCJR and Elena for her willingness to take on this role. The Board will appoint a regular member to complete Elena's term as at-large Board member and invites nominations. [Addendum: Kevin Spicer (Stonehill) accepted the Board's invitation to join as an at-large member.]
  • Audrey Doetzel noted that a Twin Cities pioneer in C-J relations, Rabbi Shapiro, was celebrating his 90 th birthday. She wondered if a festschrift might be possible. Peter Zaas suggested that a testimonial be sent to him, a proposal approved by all present. Audrey wondered if mention could be made in SCJR. Phil Cunningham will inquire about this with Barry Cytron and John Merkle.
  • John Pawlikowski recommended that the Board consider bestowing an annual award on notables such as Rabbi Shapiro.
  • Judy Banki thanked the CCJR for its donation in memory of her late husband, Paul Banki, and also expressed her gratitude for the personal messages of condolence from members.
  • Ron Simkins suggested that the alias URLs of the CCJR and SCJR websites be broadly distributed. John Pawlikowski inquired how e-mailed attachments can be sent to CCJR members since the listserv does not allow this. Phil Cunningham said he would distribute an updated bulk e-mail list.
  • Peter Zaas discussed an impressive initiative by Dr. Michael Lausmann to restore ruined Jewish cemeteries in Belarus in which the Kieval Center participated. He will send further information to everyone about this worthwhile endeavor, which has proven very meaningful to students.


  • Peter Pettit concluded the meeting at 11:00 a.m.