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Church of England sorry for prayer booklet that resembles Passover Haggadah

Church official says pamphlet issued for Maundy Thursday, which instructs readers to say a Hebrew prayer, was ‘not intended to be a Christianized seder’

Illustrative: A large congregation attend a service at Westminster Abbey in London, Wednesday July 18, 2018. (Jack Taylor/PA via AP)
Illustrative: A large congregation attend a service at Westminster Abbey in London, Wednesday July 18, 2018. (Jack Taylor/PA via AP)

JTA — The Church of England apologized for a booklet that it published featuring prayers for the Thursday before Easter and recommendations to perform customs observed by Jews on Passover.

The booklet of prayers ahead of Maundy Thursday is “not intended to be a Christianized seder,” Richard Sudworth, the Church’s national interreligious affairs adviser, said in a statement, according to a report Thursday by the Jewish Chronicle of London. “We do not wish to encourage an impression that was not intended by the resource and apologize for any offense caused.”

The Church pulled the booklet offline and trashed a video it had intended to release ahead of Maundy Thursday, the report said.

A document published online by St. Mary’s Islington, a London-based congregation that is one of the Church of England’s oldest affiliates, states: “We recall this supper together, in a homely setting, and its origins in the Jewish Passover.”

It instructs readers to say the Shema Jewish prayer in Hebrew and to have a dinner in which one reader asks, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” and another replies, “Once we were slaves in the land of Egypt, but the Lord rescued us on this holy night. That is why this night is special, and different from all other nights.”

In another dialogue, one reader asks, “Why on this night do we eat only unleavened bread?” and another replies, “We eat unleavened bread because there was no time that night to let it rise.”

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