Jewish groups honor departing church leader


NEW YORK (JTA) — Jewish groups lauded Michael Kinnamon, an interfaith leader who recently resigned as general secretary of the National Council of Churches.

B’nai B’rith International and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs both released statements Wednesday honoring Kinnamon, who resigned from this position this week citing health reasons. Kinnamon had held the position since 2007 and was celebrated for his work strenghtening Jewish-Christian ties.

“Rev. Kinnamon has set a bold example of sincerity and thoughtfulness in his engagement with the Jewish community,” said David Michaels, B’nai B’rith’s director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs. “Without minimizing any differences between our communities, he sought to reach out, in word and deed alike, finding significant avenues for cooperation and commonality. He has our appreciation, and, at this time, our prayerful thoughts.”

“Rev. Kinnamon is an exemplary model of interfaith cooperation,” Conrad Giles, the JCPA chair. “When issues of great importance to the Jewish community arose, Rev. Kinnamon was there to lend support. We have appreciated his leadership and partnership on a wide range of issues from confronting Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions to confronting poverty at home.”

In 2008, Kinnamon protested the policies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  In 2010, heparticipated in a panel discussion on interreligious reactions to the Holocaust as part of the U.N.’s International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

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