holocaust memorial day
Journeys - Holocaust Memorial Day 2014
This year, Holocaust Memorial Day falls on Monday 27 January 2014. These resources, from the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), look at the readings which will be used by many if not most Christian churches on the Sunday before.
The theme for HMD 2014 is Journeys. Journeys themselves form a large part of the story of any genocide, as people seek in desperation to flee from ostracism, discrimination, persecution, and ultimately murderous violence. Stories of such extreme journeys - both the successful and the unsuccessful - can be a powerful point of entry for those of us who have no experience of genocide, as we ask: How would we have felt? A variety of further materials is available from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
The CCJ/CTBI resources comprise two comment pieces (or sermon notes) on each of the set readings (from Isaiah, 1 Corinthians and Matthew), specially composed prayers from the Gathering to the Sending Out (with full Intercessions), and two options for activities within worship.
The Rev'd Patrick Morrow, the CCJ Programme Manager who wrote and compiled the material, comments: ‘All the readings have something to say about Journeys - from darkness to light, from arrogance to humility, and, in the gospel, from fishing to following Jesus. It is especially poignant to think of these journeys alongside those fleeing genocide and atrocity, and to seek to help Christians pray for the journey from enmity to peace.'
Background to Holocaust Memorial Day
One of the most painful realities for European Christians to deal with is the past complicity of many Christians and churches in the Nazis' attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. A long history of Christian anti-Semitism that fed into numerous persecutions of the Jews, up to and including the Holocaust/Shoah, has also been acknowledged.
Christians and churches can engage with the issues relating to the Nazis Holocaust, and relations with the Jewish community, in numerous ways.
The Roman Catholic Church addresses Jewish-Christian Relations through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews has important documents that are invaluable resources.
The Council of Christians and Jews, the Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations in Cambridge and the Beth Shalom Centre all provide resources and opportunities for further study and reflection.
In 2002, the United Kingdom Government set up Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January each year) which remembers the suffering of the Holocaust/Shoah and other Holocausts (for example in Cambodia and Rwanda). The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust provides resources for the day itself, as well as general material. They also offer a regular email-based newsletter.