Baltic-Nordic-British conference

We want to come back next year - to have a follow-up of this meeting and to see what we have achieved in our own settings! all the participants in the conference on "A Time for Recommitment" in Sigtuna, Sweden, in October said.

For the very first time a regional Nordic-Baltic-British conference on Jewish-Christian dialogue was arranged. There were participants from the Baltic countries, from the Nordic countries and from the British Isles. Some had long experience of dialogue, some were newcomers.

The President and the General Secretary of the ICCJ participated as well and made an important contribution by giving the back-ground of the dialogue and the document and by setting the international scene.

We heard two excellent keynote addresses. The topic of the lecture by Dr Winston Pickett - an American Academic now living in the UK, an author and researcher on the subject of antisemitism and its new genre – was The Old/New Antisemitism: déjà vu all over again. Professor Jesper Svartvik - the first Krister Stendahl Professor of Theology of Religions at Lund University and at the Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem – addressed Why Is This Light Different from All Other Lights? -  The Berlin Theses as a Beacon in the History of Jewish-Christian Relations.

There was much room for national reports and all participants learnt a lot about the history and the situation of their neighbours.

The venue of the conference was Sigtunastiftelsen, not only a beautiful and comfortable conference venue in Sweden’s oldest city but also a place of great interest for the inter-religious dialogue. Samarbetsrådet för Judar och Kristna, the Swedish CCJ, traces some of its roots to Sigtunastiftelsen, where inter-religious dialogue has been on the agenda since decades. It also played a significant role during World War II as a refuge for persons in the resistance movement such as Bishop Bell and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

The ICCJ has member organizations in the British Isles where the number of Jews is significant. The ICCJ has member organizations also in Latvia and in Sweden. The Jewish population is small in Sweden and even smaller in the other Nordic and Baltic countries. That is probably the reason why Jewish-Christian dialogue has not been established there - yet.

There was a commitment – and a recommitment – to work for a deepening of the Christian – Jewish dialogue. Hopefully we can report next year about the result, after a “Sigtuna II”.


Editorial remarks

Gunnel Borgegård is the Chair-person of Samarbetsrådet för Judar och Kristna