“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.”
If you wish to read my witness statement, the expert witness report, the statements of witnesses, please follow the hyperlinks below:
“As an Israeli Jew and the head of an Israeli human rights organization – ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – I am appalled by the very thought of bringing anyone, let alone such a principled person as Stephen Sizer, before a religious Tribunal. What, are we back to the Medieval days of the Inquisition? I can’t speak for the Church of England, but Jews, the British Board of Deputies, participating in a religious Tribunal?! The very thought is appalling. What has happened to us, Jews and Christians together? Are we willing to return to the dark processes of Tribunals with no legal underpinnings, no genuine evidence or testimony, conducted solely against people whose views we don’t like – besmirch and destroy people’s lives – just to prevent criticism of Israel? Is it really so easy, in the 21st Century, to persecute people for their religious and political views? Savonarola meets Trump?
Unless you benefit from annual winter breaks in the sun, February is not necessarily a month we look forward to here in the UK. The long-range Met Office forecast invariably predicts cold and wet weather. It is still dark when you get up, the days are short and summer seems light-years away.
Add the usual pressures and stresses of a post-Christmas hangover, especially when the credit card bills arrive, and it’s easy at this time of year to run out of emotional energy.
For most of us, the weather and time of year just makes us feel low, vulnerable to colds or irritable. For some it may become clinical. Whatever you call it … depression, “burnout”, or “the blahs”… it is an inescapable warning light that something is out of balance in our lives.
Burnout is associated with situations that can hit us ay any time of year in which we feel:
confused about expectations and priorities
concerned about job security
overcommitted with responsibilities
resentful about duties that are not commensurate with pay
Burnout can occur when we feel we are unable to meet constant demands, and we become increasingly overwhelmed and depleted of energy. Debilitating sadness, anger or indifference can set in. The modern work-place is notorious for exacerbating the causes of burnout.
In Advent last month, I prepared four Bible studies for Sabeel-Kairos UK as a resource to enable churches to engage with scripture and challenge apartheid. Although prepared for Advent, it is hoped you will find them a useful resource at any time.
This is a poignant week for me. The 31st January is the 70th anniversary of the 1953 floods that devastated the coastal communities of East Anglia. A confluence of two weather systems – one in the English Channel and the other in the North Sea, caused a a storm surge. The abnormal rise in sea levels brought death and destruction all along the East coast, the worst floods in living memory. During that raging storm out to sea, the Lowestoft trawler Guava sunk without trace. My uncle Edward Sizer was one of the eleven crew who never returned home.
Where do you find your security in the storms of life? Where do you find peace of mind in an uncertain world? How can you experience joy in a scary world?
Trains were humming, loudspeakers blaring, porters rushing about shouting at one another, and altogether there was so much noise that Mr Brown, who saw him first, had to tell his wife several times before she understood. ‘A bear? On Paddington station?’
Mrs Brown looked at her husband in amazement. ‘Don’t be silly, Henry. There can’t be!” “Seeing that something was expected of it the bear stood up and politely raised its hat, revealing two black ears. ‘Good afternoon,’ it said, in a small clear voice … The bear puffed out its chest. ‘I’m a very rare sort of bear,’ he replied importantly. ‘There aren’t many of us left where I come from.’ ‘And where is that?’ asked Mrs Brown. The bear looked round carefully before replying. ‘Darkest Peru. I’m not really supposed to be here at all. I’m a stowaway.'” Michael Bond’s marmalade sandwich-loving Peruvian bear first sauntered onto the page in 1958’s A Bear Called Paddington.
Named after the London station at which he was found, Paddington has been delighting generations of children the world over, ever since. Now for the first time he is appearing in the cinema too. Paddington, is a charming and funny little adventure about a very polite and friendly bear who yearns for a new home in London. Harry Potter producer David Heyman says: “Paddington Bear is a universally loved character, treasured for his optimism, his sense of fair play and his perfect manners, and of course for his unintentional talent for comic chaos.”
Watch again the first in our series ‘Challenging Apartheid in Advent’ featuring Antony Lerman and Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer speaking on the issue of Zionism and its contribution to Israel’s apartheid practices. This video includes both speakers’ presentations. If you would like the bible study to accompany the week, please head over to https://www.sabeel-kairos.org.uk/apar… to download it.
We are pleased to publish, with his permission, a paper delivered by Dr Allan Aubrey Boesak at the Chile Conference on Palestine and Latin American Churches on 5 November 2022. His presentation was entitled Global Apartheid and Systems of Exclusion “This Wall Has No Future”
“Every time right minded Black South Africans have the opportunity to visit Israel/Palestine, they come away with a profound sense of shock, and it is the shock of recognition, of profound disorientation, of relived trauma: this is apartheid. It is the sense that something as irrelevant as the colour of one’s skin or what is called “racial identity” has condemned you from birth. It is the onslaught upon your dignity through discrimination, a thousand humiliations every day in every imaginable situation, and the relentless, deliberate process of dehumanisation.
It is the sense not only that your very life is being threatened at every turn, but that your life does not matter. It is the ongoing tragedies of dispossession through land theft and forced removals, destruction of property, and devastation of communities, legalised and legitimised by the law and enforced by the violence of the state. It is the myriad ways in which one is told that one has no place in the country of one’s birth. And it is always the violence: systemic, structural, physical, pervasive, and permanent.
In October, the Convivencia Alliance arranged an international webinar entitled: “The Convivencia Declaration: Justice, Peace and Reconciliation in Palestine – Christian Perspectives: The Struggle for Justice and Peace: Experiences from South Africa, Northern Ireland, USA and Palestine. You may watch the entire webinar or view the four presentations individually by clicking on the speakers below:
Revd Allan Boesak:Professor of Black Liberation Theology and Ethics at University of Pretoria
Mark Braverman: Executive Director, Kairos USA and Research Fellow in Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Jonny Clark: Programme Manager for Public Theology at the Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland