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Jewish and Christian clergy take part in first ever community organising training

Jewish and Christian clergy take part in first ever community organising trainingThe inaugural rabbinic-priest community organising training, created by Citizens UK, Reform Judaism and the Centre for Theology and Community took place from 22-24 January at the Sternberg Centre.

13 rabbis, cantors and priests from different denominations took part in the training.

The aim of the three days was to learn the habits of the community organising model and how it might apply to a congregation, in a group of clergy who are all engaged in that task. It is hoped that bringing together leaders from different traditions will allow for deeper reflection and conversations – and the opportunity to learn from each other’s inspiring practice. The training is built on that of the Highlander School in Tennessee, the training ground of the civil rights movement, and can impact both internal congregational renewal and public justice work.

Reform Judaism has been active in embedding community organising in Reform congregations for the last two years and has committed to partner synagogues on a project of their choice sponsoring a professional community organiser in those communities.

Rabbi Josh Levy of Alyth Synagogue and Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis and Cantors UK said: “this was a wonderful opportunity to explore themes of community leadership with members of another faith tradition. I am proud of Reform Judaism being at the forefront of this vital work.”

Canon Dr Angus Ritchie, Director of the Centre for Theology and Community added: “community organising can strengthen congregations and bring diverse institutions and leaders together. This training provided an exciting opportunity to enjoy both of these.”

Charlotte Fischer, Citizens UK’s Senior Community Organiser with the Jewish community said: “It is an exciting step forward for Citizens UK to partner with the Reform movement and the Centre for Theology and Community to create an in-depth training on organising specifically for ministers of religion running institutions, and we are so excited by the calibre of the participants”

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