First IMJA Presidential Address

A portion of the First IMJA Presidential Address by Sir Leon Levison in 1925

On september the 8th, 1925, in London, with delegates from 18 nations representing the five continents the International Hebrew Crhistian Alliance (now the International Messianic Jewish Alliance) was created, with Sir Leon Levinson, Knight of the British Crown, as first President.

“My dear brethren and sisters, I am deeply moved by the great honour  you have seen fit  to  confer onme. I  can  hardly  find  words  adequately  to express  my gratitude to you. I   know my shortcomings; I know how onerous and how great is the position to  which  you  have  elected me;  and  I  pray  God,  Who alone  sees my  heart,  that He will direct me and you in  the  great  work  that  lies before  us. Brethren,   you   have   perhaps   little   idea   at present of what a body such  as  we  have  constituted  can  and  will  do; but, please God, if we each and all of us go back to our  own places as ambassadors of this great Conference, determined to organise, co-ordinate, and unite the various believers in the Messiah from amongst the Jews into bodies, which  shall  be  affiliated with  this  International,  so   that   they   may   thereby   be cheered  and  comforted   and  strengthened,   you  will  find  that in a few short  years  you  will yourselves  be rewarded  by  God in seeing the  beauty  of unity  and the  grandeur  of love  when it permeates, and  is  allowed  to  work  freely  in  the  hearts  of the  followers of  the Messiah., Who is the  very essence of love itself.

To be a power in the world, we must try to have a very clear outlook, We must try and avoid those narrow, bigoted, prejudiced feelings and ideas which would curb us and distract us and hinder us from going onward and upward and on to victory. Therefore we must pray and  when  I say  pray,  I  mean we must  work and pray!

-if we  are  to  make it  really  effective,  that we may see each thing in its  own  proportion,  as God  would  haveit. Our relationship  to  each  other  must  be  maintained  in unity. We have got  a great love because  we have got   a great Messiah, a great Saviour.

I think we cannot  blame  the  Jews  altogether. They do not understand us. What we must aim at now is to let them realise that we belong to no band or captain save the Messiah Yeshua, who was a Jew, who came to the House of Israel,  whom  we have discovered, and whom  we love  and  serve,  and  that  we are  of  their  own  blood  and  flesh,  and  we  come  to  them.  If we put it to them aright, we shall get to them in  two  ways. When we  come  to  Zionism,  we  shall show  we  have  a  unity of sentiment that is not confined to London alone, but extends throughout the world, and, being a community instead of an individual,  we  shall  be  treated  as  a  community.

To make this a success, we must consider the financial side. We want  money,  and  money  can  be raisedin a variety  of  ways.    First of  all, all those present can make a promise to contribute, say, a certain sum per annum towards expenses. Iam  just  throwing  out  hints.  The  next  thing  is that we can arrange for  every  person  who allies himself  with us to pay so much per annum towards a general fund  by way of entitling him to membership. We can also have the various bodies affiliated to the International contribute so much per annum towards general expenses. These expenses for  the upkeep of your staff can be dealt with in several ways, and promises could be received for the maintenance of, say, a magazine, or some  other  literature,  which  should  be sent  out to you from time to time, keeping headquarters in  touch  with you  and giving  youinformation.Then, while we are thinking about the general upkeep of headquarters,   we  must never  neglect to think of our poor brethren who suffer so terribly all alone. Ihavebeen thinking that we  might  arrange  for  a  benevolent  fund and for  a  widows’  and orphans’  fund.These ideas thrown out to you should not  be  taken  lightly,  but  must  be  considered very closely, I open up personally by promising £5 per annum towards maintaining  headquarters   and   starting   with  a   proper   staff, so that we may straight away  be  able  to  keep  in  touch  with you  and give you news. I hope, brethren.  that the various topics I have mentioned so inadequately will be thought of  by you, and  that,  through the grace of God, we  will all try  to  make  this  a  Conference that will not only be  a  memorable  Conference, may yet be spoken of as the place where a great movement  had  its  birth.   Never despair’, never be pessimistic, go in and win as Paul and Peter and the twelve Apostles did. We have far more encouragement than  they  ever  had.  You and I have been spared by Almighty God in a most wonderful way.You and I have been  preserved and our race has been preserved under God for a great cause, and I  believe  we  shall  see  that  great  cause  for  which we are  preserved,  corning  more  largely  into  our  vision,  and we shall serve that  cause  in  God’s  own  time  and  way,  but only  if  we  are  strong  and  remember  that  God   who  works,means to work through us. If we remember that, I am confident  we shall succeed.