Martin Weatherston has been the Chairmen of the CMJ Israel board for the past three years. He has been faithfully serving God as part of the board of directors for twelve years and will continue to work in partnership with us as he steps more fully into his position with CMJ Australia. Martin will be handing over chairmanship of the board to Rev. Timothy Butlin.
The story of my involvement in the governance of CMJ Israel goes back to the year 2000 when the UK Director (Robin Aldridge) convened a meeting of leaders on the Christ Church Jerusalem compound to consider internationalizing the work and relocating its HQ from the UK to Jerusalem. It took a good seven years - during which time there was another meeting of the global family - before the Israel Board was established. One year later – in 2008 – the South African Revd. John Atkinson was elected to be its Chair.
By August 2010, there were eight national branches with Israel being the first amongst equals. The overarching vision statement for the Amutah (Not for Profit) was to invest in the spiritual rebirth of the Jewish people as we continue to serve amongst the Jewish people. This 10 year vision aimed to move the branch into a position, both financially and relationally, where it would be largely self-funding; to change from a predominantly maintenance mode to growth and development of new ministries for a rapidly changing environment in Israel and the world.
Space does not permit me to tell the full story of the implementation of this vision over the ensuing 12 years during which I have served on the Board myself. Suffice it to say that, during the time when the Revd. Dr Don Stanley was Director, the Israel Trust of the Anglican Church was restructured to comply with Amutot Authority regulations, a property inventory was drawn up and a Governance and Management document developed. In addition, a ‘One Accord’ agreement with CMJ USA was reached in order “to provide insight analysts who would make recommendations for a successful development process and to provide a unified and approved strategy upon which we can all build”.
On the international front, an MOU (memorandum of understanding) was developed between the eight branches making provision for them to be connected by means of a biennial conference. The first of these held in 2012 focused on the vision and ethos of CMJ. The 2014 conference considered how to build a virtual team. The theme of our third conference focused on education in the Messianic movement and in the wider Christian community. The focus of our fourth conference was Ministry and Support – maintaining a healthy balance between ministry and generating income. The last conference held in 2022 reviewed a paper written by the Revd. Alex Jacob ‘Navigating the Next Steps Forward’. At this Conference, France was recognized as a national branch. The way was also opened for other groups such as Singapore to be included in the membership of the global family by creating a new category in the MOU ‘Associate Ministries’ (formed in areas where there are at least 12 active supporters). CMJ Israel has also deepened the relationship it has developed with the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON) over the years since its Jerusalem Conference in 2008. We re-affirmed this relationship with our strong presence at their fourth conference in Kigali earlier this year. The statement produced by this Conference declared that communion between churches and Christians must be based on doctrine (Jerusalem Declaration #13, Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches Covenant 2.1.6). “Anglican identity is defined by this and not by recognition by the See of Canterbury.”
Under the combined leadership of Revd. Daryl Fenton (Director of CMJ Israel) and Revd. David Pileggi (Christ Church Rector), the Senior Management Team (SMT) has developed a vision entitled ‘Building communities of faith that work, worship and bear witness in the Land of Israel.’ “We are seen as an Anglican Christian community” they say. “Our centres have congregations and encourage the Messianic body in the land. It is normal to have a coffee shop and museum in Israel and Jewish people come to see their heritage and ask questions about who we are. The uniqueness to our history provides us with a golden opportunity to explain what we have contributed and why. We now need to look to developing the portfolio of ministries we have in Jerusalem in Beit Immanuel and, after that, to other significant populations centres around the country”.
To this end, a highly ambitious capital fund-raising campaign is being launched this year. The booklet written by Kelvin Crombie entitled ‘From Exile to Restoration’ – 200 years of CMJ introducing Jesus to the Jew first and also to the Gentile in the land of Israel – is proving to be valuable resource when it comes to sharing the vision with partners who can help us achieve this landmark objective.