The Chief Rabbi Designate Ephraim Mirvis and Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols took part in their first official joint engagement on Tuesday, 18 June, as part of a multi-faith delegation organised by the Council of Christians and Jews.
The visit to Gibraltar was organised for the delegation to observe Gibraltar’s exceptional and successful model of inter-faith community relations.
The CCJ delegation also included the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Interfaith Relations the Rev Dr Toby Howarth, The Emeritus Senior Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy, Chair of the CCJ Bishop Nigel McCulloch and CCJ Vice Chair Maurice Ostro.
During the day-long trip, the group met with President of the Gibraltar Jewish Community James Levy QC CBE, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Governor of Gibraltar Sir Adrian Johns.
Catholics and Jews in Gibraltar have traditionally co-existed in friendship and mutual respect. The visit gave the CCJ delegates the opportunity to familiarise themselves with this relationship and the positive social cohesion.
Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols said:
“This has special significance as my first ever visit as Archbishop of Westminster to Gibraltar and initiated by Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy on behalf of the Jewish community of Gibraltar.
“I am honoured to have been invited to Gibraltar by the Jewish community and privileged to have seen first-hand something of the vibrant religious life of the Rock. I thank Bishop Haskett for his welcome and that of the Catholic community. This visit gives us all encouragement in the challenges we face today.”
Chief Rabbi Designate Ephraim Mirvis said:
“We have had a most wonderful day witnessing interfaith cooperation and coexistence at its best. We have returned back home inspired through the experiences we shared in Gibraltar and through the friendship and warmth within our visiting group. I am looking forward to taking on the role of a President of the CCJ and engaging in its important work.
Chair of the CCJ, Bishop Nigel McCulloch, said of the visit:
“This trip has given UK faith leaders and representatives the opportunity to witness first-hand the exceptional example of inter-faith relations in Gibraltar.
“The CCJ exists to promote positive relations and facilitate discussion about inter-faith issues. The Jewish and Catholic communities of Gibraltar have been very welcoming in what has been a valuable trip.”
During the visit Rabbi Mirvis and Rabbi Levy visited two Jewish senior schools and were given a tour of the Gibraltar Rocks. On taking up his position as Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Mirvis will become a President of the CCJ.
The Councils of Christians and Jews (CCJ) is the UK’s oldest national Jewish-Christian interfaith organisation, committed to addressing anti-Semitism and promoting interfaith dialogue.
The CCJ was founded in 1942 by Chief Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz and Archbishop William Temple.
For more information about the CCJ, visit the official website