Would You Like to Join us in Poland?
By JoAnn Magnuson
After years of working with groups committed to building Jewish-Christian relations and support for Israel, I was introduced to similar work going on behind the former Iron Curtain. I traveled to Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary in summer of 1993 with friends who were part of an interfaith book club and who had been studying Holocaust literature. While in Poland I met with two Polish brothers whose family lived in Oswiecim, the small city just outside the gates of Auschwitz. Roman and Stanislaw Gawel were born in that town in the 1950s, just after the end of WWII, and had grown up there in the years when the Communists controlled Poland.
The Catholic school the brothers attended took the students to view the near-by camp at Auschwitz but the government-edited text books told them that the victims of the camps where mainly Polish patriots. However one of the Catholic school teachers told the students that the text books lied, and that it was important for them to know that most of the victims were Jews. The Gawel boys took this information to heart and when the Polish resistance began in the 1980s they participated both in the Christian renewal movement and the Polish Solidarity activities. Now Stanislaw pastors a Protestant church in Zilina, Slovakia and Roman leads a pro-Israel Christian fellowship in Oswiecim. They have both sponsored many meetings and conferences to teach on the history of antisemitism and the need to work for Jewish-Christian understanding. Both of the groups led by the Gawel brothers have been deeply involved in bringing humanitarian aid to communities of elderly Jews who remained in Ukraine after Communism fell. Most of these Jews were unable to travel to Israel or other western counties due to health problems, lack of family connections or financial support. The support and friendship of the Christian groups has meant a great deal to these struggling Jewish people.
Over the years the Gawels and their Christian groups have participated in the Jewish program called “March of the Living,” which brings Jewish students to visit the Nazi camps and ghettos in Poland. On many occasions I was privileged to join them at these events and I’ve hosted several tours bringing American Christians to experience both the history of the tragic past and the opportunities to meet young Jews and Christian in this learning context.
In recent years Roman’s Christian fellowship in Oswiecim has hosted an annual conference in August and my U.S. colleagues, Dr. Tricia Miller and Sandra Gilbert and I have been guest speakers at these events. This year Tricia and I are hosting a small group of Christian leaders and several younger women whom we hope will be able to use the information learned here in their future careers.
We are leaving for Warsaw on August 12 and will return via Krakow on August 24. We plan to post photos and narratives describing our journey as we travel for friends and supporters who want to better understand what happened to the Jewish people — as internet connections permit. If this cause interests you, we would be very grateful for your prayers and financial support. To keep informed, send your contact info to the email below. Perhaps you will be able to join us on next year’s adventure!
National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel
P.O. Box 24307, Mpls, MN 55424
JoAnn Magnuson is an American Christian who has spent much of her adult life working in the field of Jewish-Christian relations. She and her parents lived with her Presbyterian grandmother during the early years of World War II and JoAnn’s first very clear memory is the night the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Her family gathered around the radio and heard President Roosevelt declare that the U.S.A. had been forced to join the western allies fighting against the Nazis and the Japanese. That night JoAnn’s grandma told her that, “this will be a terrible war, but Hitler will be defeated and the Jews will be back in their ancient land.” This message stuck with JoAnn from then on. She first went to Israel in 1977 and has led 69 study tours since then. In 1993 she went with friends from an interfaith book club on a tour of Poland. That opened up a new set of opportunities and contacts with Polish friends who were also involved in support for Jewish-Christian relations.
Pastor Dumisani Washington
Dr. Francis Tabla
NCLCI Board of Directors member, JoAnn Magnuson is also the Curator of the Jewish-Christian Library Centers (JCLC) in Minneapolis MN. One of the activities of the JCLC is a series of Tuesday evening Stand for Israel classes held for 12 weeks in the Fall and the Spring each year at Living Word Christian Center.
On Tuesday, March 5 this group hosted a speaker from Israel, Diana Luklin Marash. She is one of a group of bereaved mothers who have formed a Speakers Bureau in Israel. Her son, Israel Defense Forces Sgt. First Class (Res.) Daniel Marash was killed at age 22 during Operation Protective Edge, a 2014 military operation in Gaza.
Since Daniel’s death, his mother Diana has spoken to many groups in Israel about Daniel’s life and how she is learning to cope as a bereaved mother. She is currently visiting friends in Minnesota and gave her first message in English for our Stand for Israel class. After the Diana's very touching message the whole class gathered for a photo. Diana is in the middle of the front row in between two NCLCI members, Deborah Campbell, on her right and JoAnn Magnuson, on her left.
The Promise and the Challenge of Israel in the 21st Century
JUNE 28 - 29, 2016
Tuesday, June 28
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Wednesday, June 29
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM and 7:00 - 9 PM
An opportunity to view Israel and Jewish-Christian relations from a theological, historical, and contemporary perspective.
Some people believe that God is finished with the Jewish people and all his promises have been transferred to the Church. But that doesn't seem to fit with the apostle Paul's teaching about Israel: "the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29). We are pleased to bring four experienced Bible scholars to our area to lead us in discussion and study. We promise a rich banquet of ideas! All are welcome!
Rev. Dr. Gerald McDermott is an Anglican priest and serves as the Anglican Chair of Divinity at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. A prolific author, he has written, co-written, or edited more than seventeen books and scores of articles, many of which address the subject of Christian Zionism. Most recently, Gerald has been writing and speaking on the meaning of Israel. He has two books currently in press: The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land and Why Christians Have Been Wrong about Israel—and How It Changes Everything.
Dr. Brad Young is professor of Biblical Literature in the School of Theology and Ministry at Oral Roberts University. He earned his PhD from Hebrew University, Jerusalem with a specialization in New Testament Studies and the Jewish beginnings of Christianity. His books include, The Jewish Background to the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus and His Jewish Parables, Jesus the Jewish Theologian, Paul the Jewish Theologian, and The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation. Brad is active in interfaith dialogue and works to build bridges between the Jewish and Christian faith communities.
Dr. Tricia Miller is a Christian Media Analyst for CAMERA. She monitors Christian organizations and media activity in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict and focuses on the effects of Christian anti-Zionism on support for Israel in the evangelical world. She is the author of Jews and Anti-Judaism in Esther and the Church, and has been published in numerous publications including First Things, The Algemeiner, New English Review, Charisma News, Times of Israel, and the Jerusalem Post. Tricia has a PhD in Hebrew Bible from Claremont Graduate University.
Dexter Van Zile is a Christian Media Analyst for CAMERA. His research focuses on the failure of Christian institutions to address human rights abuses in Muslim majority countries in the Middle East. He has made an important contribution in the battle for accuracy in relation to Christian anti-Zionism and reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has just published a book, titled: Submitted Under Protest: Essays Written in Defense of Western Freedom. His articles have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, the Boston Globe, the New English Review, Ecumenical Trends, and the Jewish Political Studies Review.
Local speakers include: Rev. David Lenz, Pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church, Dr. Gloria Wiese, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Bethel University, and JoAnn Magnuson, Curator of the Jewish-Christian Library Centers in Minneapolis and longtime activist in the field of Jewish-Christian relations. Representatives of our local Jewish Community will also be speaking at this conference.
Cost: $50 for the full conference (includes lunch on Wednesday), $25 for the evening sessions (Tuesday night and Wednesday night)
Location: Hope Presbyterian Church, 7132 Portland Ave So, Richfield, MN 55423
This event is co-sponsored by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting
NOTE: Portland Ave is Closed , please access Hope Church from the 4th Ave Entrance
Scholarships are Available
For registration assistance, call Hope Church at 612-866-4055 or contact JoAnn Magnuson: 952-994-7545; firstname.lastname@example.org