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.