Archbishop honours former CCJ chief

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Archbishop honours former CCJ chief

Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, the former director of the Council of Christian and Jews, was recognised for promoting dialogue in the UK and Middle East

Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko at Buckingham Palace for an interfaith reception in 2020
Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko at Buckingham Palace for an interfaith reception in 2020

A Jewish interfaith leader has been recognised for her “outstanding work” in promoting Jewish-Christian dialogue in the UK.

Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, the former director of the Council of Christians and Jews, was handed an award by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as part of the 2021 Lambeth Awards. The awards recognise contributions to the Church and wider society.

Harris-Sawczenko was given the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation, recognising her efforts to foster “balanced and nuanced discussion of Israel-Palestine, the rights and diversity of Christians of Israel, and Arab-Israeli rights in Israel,” among other things.

She told Jewish News she was “extremely thankful” for the recognition.

“I am delighted that this award is given not only for my contribution to Christian Jewish relations but also highlights the work of peace builders in the Holy Land,” she said. 

“I will continue this work in the coming years through involvement with Project Rozana, that builds bridges of understanding and trust between Palestinians and Israelis through health care initiatives.”

She added: “It seems timely today of all days to receive this award, as I remember my great uncle Revd Dr Isaac Levy, a Jewish Chaplain of the British Armed Forces and Liberator of Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp who, coming out of that traumatic experience, helped establish the Council of Christians and Jews.”

More than 30 individuals were recognised in the awards, including scientists, musicians, academics, activists, peacemakers, doctors and clergy.

“This year’s Lambeth Awards recipients, not all of whom are Christians, embody this spirit of service – not just during the pandemic but, for many of them, through decades of faithful work,” said Archbishop Welby.

Harris-Sawczenko had served as director of the Council of Christian and Jews from 2014 to 2020.

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