'Long, Complex History' of Conversion Prayers for Jews Leads Anglican Church of Canada to Change Wording
by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - The Anglican Church of Canada plans on rewording the language of its prayers about Jews.
Whereas before the prayer book heading read “For the Conversion of the Jews,” the General Synod determined in Vancouver, British Columbia last month to change the title to “For Reconciliation with the Jews.”
“Take away all pride and prejudice in us, and grant that we, together with the people whom thou didst first make thine own, may attain to the fulness of redemption which thou hast promised,” reads the new prayer, which reorients the believer in Jesus toward participation in the salvation of Israel.
The original more explicitly asked for the Jews to know the Messiah, but Bruce Myers, the Bishop who asked for the change, told the Christian Post the transformation of the prayer was part and parcel of the same trend that saw the Anglican Church remove a Good Friday petition in 1992 that asked for mercy on the Jews for rejecting Jesus.
“In the United States there have been two deadly attacks on synagogues in less than a year. So what we say—and what we pray—about our Jewish neighbors has life-and-death consequences,” said Myers, who made a point also to add that the new prayer in no way intended to lead Christians into compromise about their faith or “to surrender our convictions about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.”
“Three other prayers in this same section of our Book of Common Prayer speak unreservedly and unapologetically about seeking to make Christ known and preaching the gospel to every creature, but without naming a particular group of people,” he explained.
The Solemn Collects, from the Church of England’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer and used in the Episcopal Church’s Good Friday liturgy until it made a similar language change in 1928, asked God to have “mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word,” and are considered among the oldest prayers in the Christian Church.
The Prayer Book Society of Canada crafted the new prayer in consultation with the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, according to Myers, and the language awaits ratification at the next General Synod in 2022.