Convivencia Alliance Appoints First Chair

The Convivencia Alliance is a coalition of Jewish, Muslim and Christian organisations supporting a just peace in Palestine based on One Democratic State, launched at the P21 Gallery, Euston in London in May 2022. The founding organisations were Jewish Network for Palestine, (JNP), Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and Peacemaker Trust.  

The Alliance has grown significantly since the launch and the Convivencia Declaration, outlining the aims and objectives of the Alliance, has already been endorsed by an extensive and growing list of internationally known leaders and organisations

Dr Stephen Sizer, who is also the founder and director of Peacemaker Trust, has been appointed the first chair of the Convivencia Alliance. This will be a revolving position shared between the three founding organisations to reflect the joint nature of the Convivencia Alliance. The role will involve representing, publicising and growing the Alliance. 

We are also grateful to our interim Chair, Mr David Cannon, who also serves as the chair of the Jewish Network for Palestine. His conscientious and diligent leadership has been fundamental to the growth of the Alliance and Declaration.

Dr Sizer is convening the first of three international webinars The Convivencia Declaration: Justice, Peace and Reconciliation – Christian Perspectives on Tuesday 25th October 18:00. Speakers include Revd Allan Boesak (South Africa), Mark Braverman (USA) Jonny Clark (Northern Ireland), and Rifat Kassis (Palestine). 

  

When Peacemaking is Controversial

Earlier this year the Charity Commission notified our trustees of ‘regulatory concerns’, presumably arising from a complaint, questioning whether some articles on the Peacemaker Trust website, were ‘in line with the advancement of the Christian religion or promotion of religious harmony’

The trustees responded by pointing out that the Church of England, and many other Christian denominations, define ‘the advancement of the Christian religion’ in terms of the ‘Five Marks of Mission’These include the aim of seeking “to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.” 

The trustees emphasized that “We understand our charitable purposes in these terms and seek to be catalysts for peacemaking, especially where minorities are persecuted, where justice is denied, human rights are suppressed or reconciliation is needed.”

They referred to a quote by John Stott found on our website

“The incentive to peacemaking is love, but it degenerates into appeasement whenever justice is ignored. To forgive and to ask for forgiveness are both costly exercises. All authentic Christian peacemaking exhibits the love and justice – and so the pain – of the cross.” 

They concluded that “Dr Sizer’s stance in challenging racism, segregation and apartheid, based on non-violence and international law, is intended to advance an orthodox presentation of the Christian religion and promote religious harmony, by supporting justice, peace and reconciliation. This, in the opinion of the trustees, clearly falls within our charitable purposes.”

The trustees are grateful that the Charity Commission responded:

Thank you for the comprehensive response you have provided to our letter; the Commission are satisfied with the assurances provided by The Trustees and no further engagement is needed.”

Ramy Taleb – Director of the Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon

We are delighted to commend the the work of the Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon.

“FFRL is a locally led, diverse community of peace-seekers working primarily with the emerging generation in Lebanon. We support young people in Lebanon by caring for their emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being, with the aim of empowering them as young leaders for peace as they take up their various roles and responsibilities in society, so as to strengthen social cohesion and build a path towards a more peaceful future in Lebanon.”

In this short interview Ramy talks about some of FFRL’s exciting projects. To find out more visit their website