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CCJ Works With Durham University Students To Promote Interfaith On Campus

The University of Durham

Wednesday 12th February 2014

The critical role of interfaith relations is given top priority this month as students from Durham University invite the Archbishop of York and the Chief Rabbi to campus. The Archbishop and the Chief Rabbi will lead discussions on the dynamics of interfaith in the 21st century on Wednesday 19 February which will be followed by a question and answer session with students and attending public.


The event will mark the launch of a new student-led interfaith community in partnership with the Council of Christians and Jews, to be called the CCJ Student Presidents (CCJSPs). Participating students will work with the wider organisation to facilitate regular opportunities for students of different faiths to meet, campaign for religious tolerance and promote religious intelligence within the wider campus community. Students from across the country are invited to join the initiative and implement the programme in their own campus.

As a CCJSP, students will be invited to major CCJ interfaith events involving key figures in the Christian and Jewish Communities. Other activities and support will include:


    • An annual national conference in the UK for CCJ Campus members
    • A unique interactive website, PORTICO, set up by CCJ for its campus members and used as a conduit for information and opinion exchange
    • Access to the CCJSP project manager: they will offer advice, help, ideas and co-ordinate the work of the campus groups, as well as organise national/regional events and manage the PORTICO site
    • Each year a one-term scholarship will be offered to one CCJSP to study interfaith relations

Bishop Nigel McCulloch of the Council of Christians and Jews says: “We are very excited to be engaging students on the topic of interfaith and are delighted that the Archbishop of York and the Chief Rabbi are supporting the initiative. We hope their involvement will help keep interfaith in the forefront of the discussion, helping to contextualise this important issue in new ways. We also hope that we can be a great source of information and support for appointed students who can use their involvement to further their networking, experience and studies.”

Tammy Ostro, President of the Durham Jewish Society and inaugural CCJSP says: "Being president of Durham Jewish Society this year has really made me aware of the important part that religion and ethics play in the lives of university students. Even if you are not observant or part of a society, questions around faith, ethics and morality are constantly raised and challenged on any campus. It is important for people of different faiths to come together and discuss these complex issues, and I am honoured that we have been able to entice such high-profile speakers to come and share their views with us."

Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu says:  “I am looking forward to addressing the University of Durham Council students and those from University Jewish and Christian Societies around the country with the Chief Rabbi.  It is important that we look to help one another in our communities, to respond to our neighbours in need, whether we are people of faith or none at all.  Together we can achieve so much more.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis says: “Dialogue between faiths has never been more important. Celebrating what we share and respecting differences are a vital part of the CCJ’s work and it is this that we hope the new initiative will help foster. Today’s students are our lay and religious leaders of tomorrow. Through them the conversation continues and what better way than getting them involved in the conversation sooner rather than later.”

The Launch event ‘Interfaith in the 21st Century: new paradigms in Jewish-Christian relations will be taking place on Wednesday, the 19th of February from 6.30pm – 7.30 pm. It will be held at the Rosemary Cramp Lecture Theatre, Calman Learning Centre at Durham University, Stockton Road, Durham DH1 3LE. To confirm your attendance, please contact Katie McKelliget on 0207 284 6953 /

About the CCJ

The Council of Christians and Jews works with Christians, Jews and members of other faith communities who are approaching inter-faith dialogue. It was founded in 1942 by Chief Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz and Archbishop William Temple. For more information, visit our website

About the CCJSP

The role of a CCJ Student President will be to promote interfaith/ Jewish-Christian dialogue by building relationships, facilitating regular opportunities for Jewish and Christian students to meet, campaign for religious tolerance in the student body and promote religious intelligence within the wider campus community.

Our aim is to establish a network of CCJSPs at selected Higher Education Institutions in the UK. Appointed CCJSPS will come from the Christian and Jewish student bodies and aspire to the objectives of the Council of Christians and Jews. They will hold the CCJSP for one year.


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