[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Bishop of Western Massachusetts in the US-based Episcopal Church has appointed a Rabbi in Residence for the diocese’s Christ Church Cathedral. From 1 September, Rabbi Mark Dov Shapiro will take adult education classes and will also “preach periodically in the Sunday liturgy.”
The announcement was made yesterday (Monday) by Bishop Doug Fisher and Canon Tom Callard, the cathedral’s Priest-in-Charge. In addition to preaching and teaching, Bishop Fisher said that Rabbi Shapiro would “offer his wisdom on a host of social justice concerns.”
Speaking to the masslive.com news website, Rabbi Shapiro said that the new post “offers me and parishioners of the cathedral an opportunity to explore faith and history in ways we have never done before. . . I anticipate a unique opportunity to teach and preach as well as see my own tradition from a new very rich perspective.”
Speaking to the same website, Bishop Fisher explained the thinking behind the appointment: “Christians and Jews share so much – a common father in Abraham, the Hebrew scriptures, belief in a God who is both transcendent and within us, and a common challenge from the Prophets.
“Jesus was Jewish and constantly quoted the Prophets. Rabbi Mark will expand our understanding of both Judaism and Christianity by his preaching and teaching.”
Rabbi Shapiro’s journey to the rabbinic ministry began at home in Toronto, Bishop Fisher said in a statement. After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Intellectual History at York University, Mark attended the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati where he was ordained as a rabbi. He earned the Doctor of Divinity degree from the same institution in 2002.