This year’s FOSUK Conference and AGM was held in an industrial and business area of Cowley, Oxford. This might not sound the most promising place to welcome people to an important day, but it turned out that the CMS building in Oxford, which houses the FoSUK office, made an excellent conference centre, with plenty of parking and a modern building with good facilities.
After the welcome and worship, Mark Braverman began his talk by outlining some of the false assumptions that are preventing any progress towards peace and justice between the Israelis and the Palestinians. One assumption is that Israel is willing to have a Palestinian state on its borders; another is that the USA, and other western countries, are honest brokers, treating the Israelis and the Palestinians equally and fairly. He went on to give a challenging address, which was followed by a question and answer session, during which he was joined by Naim Ateek.
After lunch we split into discussion groups to talk about how we can support Sabeel in Jerusalem, and how we can create a greater awareness of the Israel/Palestinian issues here in the UK. Our collective wisdom was duly noted and where possible the FOSUK Board will put our ideas into action.
Then we were treated to a Bible study by Naim Ateek, emphasising that the God we believe in is an inclusive God, whose ‘house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.’ (Isaiah 56)
Naim’s talk was followed by a further time of questions and answers.
The day finished with the FOSUK AGM, where we heard encouraging reports from our Coordinator, Anne Clayton, and our Treasurer, Renny Gye.
The whole day was really well organised. We seemed to have lots of time for questions and discussion, for catching up with each other over lunch and coffee, and still were able to hear two excellent speakers and get in the business of the AGM without undue rushing. So congratulations to the Board and others involved for a really worthwhile day.
(Mark Braverman referred to a booklet by the Board of Deputies of British Jews on Zionism which can be found on their website here).