Bruce Clemenger will be honoured June 6 with the 2023 Dr. Victor Goldbloom Award for Outstanding Interfaith Leadership. Clemenger is senior ambassador and president emeritus of the EFC. Richard Marceau, a vice president at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, explains the reasoning behind the award.
Canada is an increasingly diverse country – ethnically, culturally, socially and religiously.
It is, therefore, increasingly important for people of different groups to meet, discuss and exchange ideas to know and understand one another better.
This is something that Bruce J. Clemenger, throughout his many years with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, has long understood.
This is why, on Tuesday, June 6, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) will honour Mr. Clemenger with the Victor Goldbloom Award for Outstanding Interfaith Leadership.
In memory of the late Dr. Victor Goldbloom, this award recognizes the contributions of leaders from various faith communities in advancing interfaith relations. Past recipients have included:
- Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, Bishop John A. Boissonneau
- Anglican Bishop Bruce Myers
- Catholic Professor of Religion Jean Duhaime
- and elder Chief Dr. Robert Joseph of British Columbia.
It is no secret that the EFC and CIJA have differing views on theological, political and societal issues. This is to be expected. But under Bruce Clemenger’s leadership, those differences have always been approached respectfully, enabling the two organizations to listen and to engage meaningfully with one another. For this, CIJA is very grateful.
When he was president and CEO of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Bruce facilitated the declaration of dialogue and partnership between the EFC and CIJA. The declaration notes that, although “Evangelicals and Jews have distinct theological perspectives, our communities share many foundational values, interests and concerns that allow joint advocacy initiatives,” committing to substantive discussion of issues such as palliative care, affordable housing, religious freedom in Canada, peace and security in the Middle East, and support for persecuted minorities in the region.
Diversity – real diversity – is hard to manage. Religious diversity is even more so. As Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik from Yeshiva University in New York City once said, “Religions have hard edges.”
Let us pray that Bruce Clemenger’s example of interfaith dialogue inspires other Canadians to engage in this worthwhile endeavour.
Richard Marceau is vice president, external affairs and general counsel at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. He is a former member of Parliament, a lawyer, a published author and a human rights activist.