My dear Bishop Christopher,
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I am encouraged to write and share my heart with you because I know your graciousness, fairness and great pastoral heart so I am writing to you in support of my friend Revd Dr Stephen Sizer to express my concern that the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) complaint brought against him has not yet been resolved. I understand that this complaint, brought by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, has been hanging over Stephen for almost a year. This has undoubtedly caused him considerable stress, especially given the serious nature of the complaint, and he has also been obliged to cover legal fees running to several thousands of pounds. Justice would surely demand that this complaint is dealt with speedily and is not allowed to drag on any longer. Stephen shared with me that you have been pastorally very supportive of him.
I met Stephen in Egypt on several occasions. When I have heard him talk or translated for him on the subject of Christian Zionism he has always spoken with great Biblical insight and sensitivity on this important but controversial topic. Indeed, we are pleased to have been able to publish his books in Arabic through our Anglican Publishing House and make them more widely available in the Middle East.
I am quite clear in my own mind that Stephen is not anti-Semitic, nor has he said or written anything that could possibly be construed to be anti-Semitic. Thus the central thrust of the Board of Deputies’ complaint – that Stephen has made anti-Semitic statements and/or republished the anti-Semitic sentiment of others –simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
I would appeal to you to dismiss the CDM complaint, which from my perspective – and indeed the perspective of many others – has no basis whatsoever. This will allow Stephen to concentrate on his ministry in Virginia Water, where he is a much-loved pastor, and on his wider ministry, including his prophetic writings and balanced teaching on Christian Zionism and the biblical call to justice, peace and reconciliation, which we all work for in the Anglican Communion.
Please know that this letter comes with my heartfelt prayers that you will act wisely and choose the course of justice.
May the Lord bless you!
+ Mouneer Egypt
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East
nb. This letter was written before the conciliation process was concluded and permission for its publication was given by both + Mouneer Anis and + Christopher Hill.