Tag Archives: Church of England

Bishop’s Chaplain: A New Appointment

Dear Stephen,

Re. Bishop’s Chaplain

Salaam in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose resurrection from the death we celebrate these days ever proclaiming: “Jesus Christ is risen”.

In recognition of our long-standing relationship of over thirty years, I am writing to formally invite you to become my chaplain in the UK, to assist me when I am visiting, or to advise me in the fulfilment of my episcopal duties, albeit in retirement.

My dear Stephen, you are a person of integrity and forthright views with the courage to express them.

At the same time you have always shown the utmost respect for the adherents of different faiths, in particular to Jews and Moslems, while advocating for Christian presence in the Land of the Holy One, Israel and Palestine, and campaigning for Palestinian Human Rights.

I wish more servants of Christ, bishops and clergy, Anglicans and others, were as courageous as you in challenging the destructive effects of Israeli apartheid and Christian Zionism on both Jews and Palestinians.

I appreciate your prayers, your advocacy and solidarity with the Church in the Holy Land.

Know this comes with my prayers and my sincere thanks in advance.

In Christ,

+Bishop Riah Abo El Assal

I have been assisting Bishop Riah in the fulfilment of his episcopal duties in an informal capacity for decades. It is a delight and honour to have that role more formally recognised.

Jonathan Coulter on CAMPAIN and the Church of England

In this interview Jonathan Coulter explains the work of CAMPAIN and reasons for their recent Open Letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

You can read and sign the Open Letter here

Background to the Open letter:

Jonathan’s article “What is Wrong with the the IHRA working definition of antisemitism?

View other YouTube interviews here

Palestine and the Church of England: The Right Revd Riah Abu El Assal

The Right Revd Riah Abu El Assal, the retired Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, speaks candidly about how to achieve a just peace in Palestine and his frustrations with the Church of England for failing to engage constructively in the process. 

Bishop Riah’s biography, ‘Caught in Between’ is available from Amazon

Genuine Friends

I am relieved to have completed an outstanding project – updating my Friends page of support statements repudiating the allegations made against me by the Board of Deputies. I am indeed blessed to have so many genuine friends.

One example reflects the tone of the other 40+ witnesses who spoke up on my behalf.

Antony Lerman was the sole expert witness at my tribunal. He is an international recognised expert on antisemitism. His succint comment posted on the Twitter feed of the Archbishop of Canterbury summarises his response to the tribunal decision.

“This disgraceful miscarriage of justice against someone who has never uttered a word of hate against Jews will be a permanent stain on the Church of England and the Board of Deputies.”

The Church of England’s own expert witness, who attempted to apply the discredited IHRA working definition of antisemitism (imposed coincidentally within days of the complaint against me by the House of Bishops without any synodical consultation), admitted under cross examination that he wasn’t an expert on antisemitism.

Revd Mark Battison on Palestine and the Church of England’s Lack of a Prophetic Voice

Mark is President of Friends of Sabeel Australia and a former Anglican clergyman. In this conversation Mark shares his frustration with the Church of England for the absence of a prophetic voice on justice for Palestine. For more information on the organisations Mark mentions see:


Pure Joy in Trials of Many Kinds

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)

“The central message arising from the tribunal is that the well-documented accusations of repeated antisemitic behaviour made over more than a decade have been dismissed! Only one allegation of antisemitism has been found to have substance – but that was dealt with quickly and effectively [in 2015] at the time by the Bishop of Guildford (as Jonathan Arkush accepts), Stephen apologising for his actions, recognising the deep hurt his actions had caused and stating publicly that his sharing of the material was ill-considered and misguided and that he “never believed Israel, or any other country was complicity in the terrorist atrocity of 9/11.”

“It is significant that not one word or statement from Dr Sizer has been shown to be antisemitic. There are none.” Stephen Hofmeyr KC

If you wish to read my witness statement, the expert witness report, the statements of witnesses, please follow the hyperlinks below: 

My Witness Statement

Continue reading

Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Winchester: The Revd Dr Stephen Sizer

The above Tribunal will be held Monday 23 – Friday 27 May 2022 arising from a complaint made by the Board of Deputies of British Jews against the Revd Dr Stephen Sizer in 2018. The Tribunal will be held at St Andrew’s Church Centre Holborn, Central London. If you wish to attend for one day or more, please RSVP to Mr Darren Oliver, the Registrar of Tribunals, as seating is limited. His email address is: doliver@wslaw.co.uk

A previous complaint by the Board of Deputies was resolved by conciliation in 2013. See below for further information about the previous complaint and its resolution:

Response to the Complaint of Misconduct from Stephen Sizer
Letters of Support
Conciliation Agreement

The Church of England and Melanie Phillips

Church of England Inter-Faith Relations:

a Response to Melanie Phillips’s article in The Spectator

by Guy Wilkinson

National Inter-Faith Relations Adviserand Secretary for Inter-Faith Relations to the Archbishop of Canterbury copublished with the Spectator, 18 March 2009


We have seen in recent days in Northern Ireland just how deep antagonisms go and how long their poisonous roots remain in the ground, ready to spring to life like nettles to sting. And to continue the metaphor, we have seen in Luton how some kinds of words can be the means by which such roots are strengthened and enabled to spread.


Anything that matters deeply to people – religion, politics, football, patriotism – gives rise to passion and to passionate words. And passionate words can make for good or for ill, for peace or for violence. The words which tend to ill are those which are generalised, accusatory and inaccurate because they wound and lead to indignant responses which confirm everyone in their pre existing views of the other.


Melanie Phillips, in her recent article (The Spectator, 7 March 2009) brought together a very personalised attack on three Anglican clergy with a very generalised criticism of the Church of England for a combination of ‘extreme hostility towards Israel’, ‘appeasement of Islam’ and “with Christians around the world suffering forced conversion, ethnic cleansing and murder at Islamist hands, the church utters not a word of protest”; and finally that: “the church is truly supping with the devil and setting the stage for a repeat of an ancient tragedy.”


These are remarkably hurtful words for the very many in the Church of England who have worked for years in parishes and dioceses, at home and abroad precisely to find ways in which religious communities can live together peaceably and fruitfully in our neighbourhoods for the common good. This may be a naïve aspiration but it remains one which we believe to be not only worthwhile, but directly inspired by the Christian gospel. To be open to one religious community is not automatically to be hostile to another; to seek to live at peace is not necessarily to agree with the religious other; to speak softly is not to be fainthearted about our own faith nor to fail to witness to it in the hope that others might want to share it; not to grandstand in blogs and in the media when fellow Christians are under persecution is not to be taken to mean that nothing is done.


The Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion can be proud of the role that they have played over many decades where relations with other religions are concerned.


In relation to Judaism the record is clear. The earliest of its formal approaches goes back to 1942 with the formation of the Council of Christians and Jews at the instigation of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple and every Archbishop since then has been the Chair of the Presidents of the Council. In 1988 the Lambeth Conference set out its approach to relations with Judaism and Islam in its document: “The Way of Dialogue” and the Church of England followed this is with a serious study of relations with Judaism in 2001: “Sharing one Hope?”. In 2006 the present Archbishop signed a joint declaration with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel which included the words: “We reaffirm our belief in the rights of the state of Israel to live within recognised and secure borders and to defend itself by all legal means against those who threaten its peace and security. We condemn without reserve those who deny a place for Israel and especially those who engage in the evil work of seeking to bring about its destruction.” Since then the Church of England has made a major submission to the All Party Committee on anti Semitism and the Archbishop has hosted at Lambeth the inter Parliamentary Conference on anti Semitism earlier this year.


In recent years the Church of England and Archbishop Williams have made many initiatives towards Islam, building on the work of Archbishop Carey. These include the dialogue with Al Azhar University, the formation of the Christian Muslim Forum and the Building Bridges Seminars of Christian and Muslim scholars. And in case it should be thought that these two streams of relationship with Judaism and Islam never come together, the Archbishop with the Chief Rabbi led a visit of the leadership of all religions in this country – including representatives of the Muslim Council of Britain – to Auschwitz – Birkenau last October. Can this really be ‘supping with the devil’?


Lest it be thought that this work is limited to the Church’s national leadership, the Presence and Engagement programme of the past four years, affirmed in the General Synod debate on it in February and alongside the debate and resolution on the uniqueness of Christ, highlighted the work of the thousand parish churches across the country whose parishioners include substantial numbers of Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and other faiths.


As for the comment that the Church is indifferent to the suffering of Christians around the world, suffice it to say in a short article such as this, that nothing could be further from the truth.


Last year the Church published an important document: “Generous Love – the truth of the Gospel and the call to dialogue”. The ‘generous love’ referred to is the generous love of God which embraces those who are persecuted for their faith, which encompasses all people of all faiths and which calls us to witness to the truth of the gospel and as part of that, to engage in dialogue with others.


Canon Guy Wilkinson is the National Inter-Faith Relations Adviser and Secretary for Inter-Faith Relations to the Archbishop of Canterbury


First published by Fulcrum

For a personal response to Melanie Phillips see here.

For the replies published by the Spectator see here.