Tag Archives: Church of England

The Church of England’s Complicity in the Gaza Genocide

“Gaza today has become the moral compass of the world”, insisted the Reverend Dr. Munther Isaac in his 2023 Christmas sermon, entitled, “Christ in the Rubble.” After his sermon went viral, his words were subsequently quoted by UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed.

A short video introduction to the article – viewed 18k times in the first week.

Lamentably, many Christian leaders in the USA and Europe have stood by, silent and complicit, unwilling to criticise Israel for what is increasingly recognised as a genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people. 

This article will analyse the Church of England official statements about Gaza since 7th October 2023, together with criticisms, and provide an assessment of the Church’s moral integrity in its stance on Gaza.

Download the complete article – or continue to read the summary conclusions:

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A Survey of CofE Bishops Reveals a Moral Vacuum on Israel and Palestine

A survey of Anglican Bishops was planned by a coalition of ten Christian, Jewish, Muslim and secular groups[1] that were concerned about the position the Church of England had taken vis-à-vis Israel/Palestine under the leadership of Archbishop Justin Welby. It was executed by CAMPAIN (the Campaign against Misrepresentation in Public Affairs, Information and the News)

An Open Letter of April 25th raised a series of issues, but the matter of most immediate concern was Welby’s denial of the existence of Israeli apartheid, which placed him at odds with the views of late Archbishop Tutu, the Anglican Church of South Africa, renowned international and Israeli human rights organisations, Palestinian Christians and the United Nations. 

The purpose of the survey was to ascertain whether other CofE bishops widely shared Welby’s opinion, and if so, why?

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When a Miscarriage of Justice Happens to a Friend

“When a miscarriage of justice happens to a friend. Sitting talking with a long time friend of mine this week, the Red Dr Stephen Sizer, brought home to me the pain that both Stephen and his wife Joanna have received at the hands of an Ecclesiastical Tribunal by the Church of England, in which they investigated an accusation of antisemitism brought against Stephen by the Jewish Board of Deputies. So this newsletter is going to be a little different to my usual, because I just want to look at this in some depth.I have known Stephen for over forty years, since he was a student. I have followed his growing passion for justice and peace in the Holy Land since those days. I am glad to say based on these many years of experience of him that Stephen is committed to International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and human rights. In my experience Stephen is a gentle but firm peacemaker who lives out the Biblical mandate that all are made in the image of God. I’ve not ever during all our years of friendship and work together witnessed anything in his words or actions that reflects antisemitism. He has worked with Jewish peace activists and Rabbis and won their respect, and also the respect of the Muslim community. He has been a significant witness to the Christian value of peacemaking, and is admired by Middle Eastern Bishops and clergy…

In the Tribunal I was called as a witness. I had never been in a situation like this before and didn’t know what to expect. I had been asked to write an article in advance, but then when they questioned me in the Tribunal they never referred to what I had written at all, but simply referred to something Stephen had done some years back… After Antony Lerman (the expert witness) had spoken there seemed to be no case for Stephen to answer. And yet the Tribunal took 6 months to decide the outcome, keeping Stephen on edge, and then came up with their extraordinary conclusion banning him from ministry for twelve years. The words of criticism against Stephen that came from the Tribunal at that point sounded like it was a totally different Tribunal and completely discounted Antony Lerman’s contribution… I have to ask what the Ecclesiastical Tribunal thought they were doing in bringing this. This Anglican Priest who has served so faithfully for years both in this country and around the world, working with Christians, Jews and Muslims on situations of justice – why was he hung out to dry?…

The central message arising from the tribunal is that the Church has punished Stephen with a twelve year ban – despite Antony Lerman’s dismissal of the new charges and the fact that no evidence was provided to substantiate the charges in the first place. Which makes one wonder why Stephen and Joanna were put through all of this, when the Church are treating him as guilty despite their own “due process” proving otherwise.” Revd Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder Amos Trust.

Read Garth Hewitt’s complete article

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