Presentations by HE Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK and Revd Dr Munther Isaac, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, at a meeting hosted by Revd Simon Woodman held at Bloomsbury Baptist Church London on 17.02.2024.
Zionism: Manufacturing a State’ explores the intricate ties between religion, ideology, and Israel’s brutal war on Gaza. Featuring Jewish rabbis and scholars, it critiques the impact of Zionism on Judaism.
The film traces historical roots, connecting the ideology to today’s Gaza events, and offering a nuanced look at the complex interplay of religion and ideology in Israel’s history.
Watch on Youtube
The Revd Dr Munther Isaac, is the vicar of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem. Munther delivered a prophetic message during the Christ in the Rubble Liturgy of Lament service today. It was a powerful message challenging Western Churches to demonstrate solidarity with the suffering church in Palestine and repudiate the genocide occurring in Gaza, because silence is complicity.
View the video here
Read Munther’s text below:
Christ in the Rubble
A Liturgy of Lament
“We are angry…
We are broken…
This should have been a time of joy; instead, we are mourning. We are fearful.
20,000 killed. Thousands under the rubble still. Close to 9,000 children killed in the most brutal ways. Day after day after day. 1.9 million displaced! Hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed. Gaza as we know it no longer exists. This is an annihilation. A genocide.
The world is watching; Churches are watching. Gazans are sending live images of their own execution. Maybe the world cares? But it goes on…Continue reading
Jesus of Palestine: A Christmas presentation given at the Gulf Cultural Club, Abrar House, London
The Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem are commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ differently this year. They have created a nativity scene resembling the situation in Gaza amid Israel’s brutal onslaught. The nativity scene shows a baby wrapped in the traditional Palestinian keffiyeh and placed in debris and rubble. While the keffiyeh symbolises Palestinian identity, history, and struggle, the debris represents destruction in Gaza, where at least 20,000 people have already been killed by Israel’s indiscriminate war, and thousands more are missing under the rubble, most of them children and women. The baby Jesus represents the thousands of children buried beneath the rubble in Gaza. The vicar of the Nativity Church, the Revd Dr Munther Isaac, said: “If Jesus were born today, he would be born in Gaza under the rubble.” The municipalities and churches in Bethlehem and Ramallah have announced that Christmas celebrations have been cancelled in the occupied West Bank in solidarity with Gaza, calling on parishes instead to collect donations to help the victims.
As we reflect on Christmas at the Gulf Cultural Club, we have been asked to consider two questions this evening. First, how would Jesus deal with the current situation in Palestine? Second, how can peace be promoted today? The hope is that this seminar will contribute to the promotion of justice and peace as we mark the festive season linked to Jesus and Mary. Let’s consider these two questions one at a time.Continue reading
A presentation on Christian martyrdom given at the Gulf Cultural Club, London. Watch the video here
“The early church’s theology of martyrdom was born not in synods or councils, but in sunlit, blood—drenched coliseums and catacombs, dark and still as death. The word martyr means “witness” and is used as such throughout the New Testament. However, as the Roman Empire became increasingly hostile toward Christianity, the distinctions between witnessing and suffering became blurred and finally nonexistent.” (William Bixler)Continue reading
“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.
John Wesley preached outdoors because the Church of England denied him a pulpit over his evangelical theology. He could have left the Anglican Church but didn’t. They didn’t want him. His theology was too evangelical. His love was too extravagant. His methods too unorthodox. So they shut him out of churches and pulpits. They could not silence Wesley. Instead he preached in the open air – in fields, markets, and cemeteries and the crowds loved him.
Today it was my privilege to read and expound the scriptures in the open air in Whitehall outside Downing Street before an estimated 15,000+ Jews, Muslims, Christians and those of no faith, all with police protection. It was truly one of the highlights of my ministry. (click on the photo above to watch my presentation). The text of my presentation together with photos and more short videos may be found below.Continue reading
“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:Continue reading
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 more detailed resource tracing the history of apartheid in South Africa
Our Father, who art in heaven,
slow to anger, and of great mercy, lover of all peoples of the earth,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Remind us that “all the nations are as nothing before thee,”
their governments but a shadow of passing age;
Thy kingdom come on earth.
Grant to thy children throughout the world,
and especially to the leaders of the nations,
the gift of prayerful thought and thoughtful prayer;
that following the example of our Lord,
we may discern what is right, and do it;
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Help us to protect and to provide for all who are hungry and homeless,
especially those who are deprived of food and shelter,
family and friends, by the tragedy of war;
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us for neglecting to “seek peace and pursue it,”
and finding ourselves in each new crisis,
more ready to make war than to make peace.
“We have not loved thee with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves”;
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Let us not seek revenge, but reconciliation;
Let us not delight in victory, but in justice;
Let us not give ourselves up to pride, but to prayer;
Lead us not into temptation.
Be present to all thy children ravaged by war:
Be present to those who are killing and to those who are being killed;
Be present to the loved ones of those who are killing
and to the loved ones of those who are being killed;
Deliver us from evil.
Subdue our selfish desires to possess and to dominate,
and forbid us arrogance in victory;
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
~ written by Wendy Lyons