September 13, 2023
Vale Jeremy Jones
Uniting Church pays tribute to longstanding Jewish dialogue partner
The Uniting Church in Australia has expressed its deep sympathy for the loss of longstanding Jewish dialogue partner and interfaith champion Jeremy Jones.
The Jewish and broader Australian community is mourning the passing of Jeremy Jones AM, 64, who is being remembered as a “legend” of the Australian Jewish community and for his immense legacy in building relationships across faith and cultural boundaries.
Jeremy was the Director of International and Community affairs at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), a former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), a veteran of interfaith affairs and expert on antisemitism.
He had a longstanding association and friendship with the Uniting Church as the co-chair of the Dialogue between the UCA and ECAJ. Jeremy was a member of the dialogue since it began in 1991.
“His passion for intentional dialogue was unwavering and even contagious. His contribution will be long-lasting and hopefully, we will continue in the work that he held so dear.”
Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis this week joined many in paying tribute to Jeremy.
“The Uniting Church has a long and valued friendship with the Jewish community. Jeremy for many years has embodied that friendship, both as a co-chair of our national dialogue with the ECAJ and more broadly as someone who has always strived to build trust, understanding and friendship across religious and cultural boundaries,” the President said.
Jeremy was awarded the AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in 2005 for “service to the Jewish community, and to multiculturalism and international relations in the area of interfaith dialogue”.
Rev Tara Curlewis is the Uniting Church co-chair of the Jewish dialogue. She too paid tribute to Jeremy.
“I personally have appreciated sharing with Jeremy both as co-chair of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians Muslims and Jews (2009 -2014) and in recent years as Co-Chair of the ECAJ-UCA dialogue.”
“Jeremy leaves a tremendous legacy within the Australian community, the various faith communities in Australia, and the global community by the way he built relationships between people of different faiths and cultures. His passion for intentional dialogue was unwavering and even contagious. His contribution will be long-lasting and hopefully, we will continue in the work that he held so dear.”
Seeking Common Ground Advocate and former Co-Chair of the dialogue, Rev Dr Matthew Wilson said Jeremy was intensely proud of being a member of the dialogue from its first meeting.
“Jeremy kept note of every meeting and would remind the group of its history – it is a great loss that that link and historical memory of the dialogue throughout its time is now gone. My recollection is that in over 30 years he only missed two meetings of the dialogue group.
“Jeremy was also a passionate advocate of reconciliation and building meaningful relationships with our First Peoples.”
Rev Dr John Squires, another former co-convenor of the dialogue, described Jeremy as an “institution of interfaith dialogue in Australia”, recalling his enthusiasm for robust and honest discussion.
“He was doggedly persistent in documenting, describing, and critiquing the regular peppering of antisemitic incidents that the Jewish community endured, year after year, across Australia, and especially in Sydney. He was erudite and easy to listen to as he explored matters of faith, society, politics, racism, and many more areas.”
“I am sure the Jewish Community will miss his leadership within the ECAJ, and absolutely certain that leaders of Christian, Muslim, and other faith communities, will miss his presence in the bilateral, trilateral and multilateral dialogues where he thrived on the dual role of advocating for his own faith and nurturing respectful and collegiate relationships across various faith traditions.”
Current dialogue member Alison Bleyerveen also paid tribute, recalling the interactions she had with Jeremy, even up to his last week of life, when he sent personal emails requesting prayer.
“I will miss him at the National dialogue, for his wonderful images, and for our growing friendship. It was such an honour to share in a small way in his life,” Alison said.
We pray for all those remembering Jeremy. May his memory be a blessing and we wish long life to his family.
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