Category Archives: Virginia Water

The Greatest of These Is…

Weddings1 Corinthians 13 is probably the most widely read passage at weddings. True, it’s the most beautiful description there is in Scripture about love – yet the context of the passage is not about marriage. It is about serving one another and when you think about it, that is what marriage is really all about.
I’d like us to examine this passage under three headings:

The motive is Love (12:31-13:3)
The quality is Divine (13:4-8)
The purpose is maturity (13:9-13).

  1. The Motive is Love

“And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:3)
Do you see how important love is? The gifts of prophecy, knowledge, faith, giving, mentioned here are valuable or worthless depending on one thing: Motive. Listen to how these verses are translated in the Message translation.

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

The question I must ask myself therefore is this: Why am I serving? Why am I not serving? What is my motive?  Our motive must be love. Continue reading

Sexual Ethics in the 21st Century: Canon Dr Chris Sugden

Does the Church have anything useful to say on this controversial topic? Canon Dr Chris Sugden is an ordained minister of the Church of England. After an assistant pastorship in Leeds, where he also worked in the BBC, Chris and his wife, Elaine, spent 6 years with their children in India. In 1983 they returned to England and helped establish the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. (OCMS).

He is Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream, a network of evangelical and orthodox networks in the United Kingdom, which is part of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) and Global Anglican Future (GAFCON).

Ladies Spring Hike: National Trust Devil’s Punchbowl

Date Saturday 20 April 2013
10am to 4pm
National Trust Devils Punchbowl, Hindhead, Surrey

Meeting Point
Gather in the Christ Church Virginia Water car park for 10 am. We plan to car share and possibly use one Christ Church minibus. Please let us know if you want a lift from the Christ Church car park and back after the walk. We will be leaving the Church Church Virgina Water car park at about 10am with the aim of setting off on the first stage of the walk from the National Trust Devils Punchbowl car park at 1045am.

The Walk
A figure of eight walk. The first half is approximately 2.8 miles. A soup and roll lunch will be provided at the Cafe located at the National Trust Devils Punchbowl car park at approximately 1230pm. We will then aim to set off on the second and final part of the walk at 145pm. There will be an option to walk for 3.1 miles (for a slightly more challenging walk) or a 1 mile walk to Gibbet Hill. We will then return for tea and cake at the Cafe afterward the second leg of the walk for those that would like to (please bring a little money for tea and cake) before heading back to Virginia Water.

We would be delighted to receive what ever amount you feel you would like to give. All donations received will go directly towards The Harpswell Foundation and the costs which Rachel has incurred in getting to Phnom Penh. Suggested minimum of £25. The soup and roll lunch will be included. You may want a little money for the tea and cake later on.

Practical considerations
Walk will suit all abilities and will have clear way markings. Individual maps will be provided on arrival. See map photo for detail. The terrain may be muddy and a little hilly so stout footwear is recommended and suitable clothing will be needed for all weathers! Maybe bring a drink and a small snack to share.

The reserved group lunch at the Café will give us a chance to hear from Rachel about her 3 month stay in Phnom Penh and her hopes and ideas as she prepares to go next month!

We are looking forward to the fun of walking together and at the same time helping young women in Cambodia with the chance to have a university education and develop the leadership skills necessary to have a positive impact on Cambodia’s future.

RSVP to Joanna Sizer (Spaces are limited so do hurry)

National Trust Devil’s Punchbowl 

Harpswell Foundation Cambodia

Reply to the Council of Christians and Jews

I welcome the news from Surrey Police and CPS that, having “carried out a thorough and extensive review of the material in question” they have concluded that “no criminal offences have been committed. The matter has now been closed and no further action is being taken,” a conclusion which will come as no surprise to those who know and work with me.

On 4 October 2011, I posted a link to an essay Israel’s Window to Bomb Iran, by Ray McGovern, an ex-CIA analyst, commenting on circumstances in which Israel might attack Iran. Regrettably the link that I used was not to the original website but to a different website which I now know contained scurrilous and offensive material.

I was made aware of this on 3 January 2012 as a result of an enquiry by the Jewish Chronicle. I could not find the link and assumed, wrongly, that I had removed it. I found it on 4 January 2012 and removed it immediately. I have no wish to be associated with or to encourage anyone to read some of the things that I found on the site. I have on many occasions in my ministry condemned all forms of anti-Semitism and will continue so to do because it is abhorrent to me.

Some ten weeks later, on 13 March 2012, the Council for Christians and Jews posted an article on its website entitled CCJ Statement About Antisemitic Website. The CCJ had “drawn the attention of the Surrey police to what they claim was an action tantamount to encouraging race ‘hatred’.” The CCJ said that I was “alerted to the anti-Semitic nature of the website in November and again in December, but only removed the link in January when contacted by the Jewish Chronicle.”

The article does not identify the alleged circumstances in which I was alleged to have been alerted to the link. Whatever the CCJ might think has happened I have explained here how and when the link came to my attention. It did not come to my attention before then.

Surrey Police have told me that they are not going to prosecute me because there is no evidence that I have committed any crime, which I have not.

It might have been helpful if the CCJ had asked me for an explanation before writing about me on their website but they did not.

On 23rd April, CCJ issued a second statement CCJ Statement re Rev Stephen Sizer saying “The Council of Christians and Jews has now received the advice of the Surrey Police, together with that of the appropriate legal authorities”.

The CCJ is a venerable organisation with many distinguished supporters. I hoped that, having accused me of serious criminal conduct, it would want to make it clear that the police investigation has revealed no evidence to support my prosecution. So far the CCJ has not done that.

I did not commit any criminal offence when I posted a link to Ray McGovern’s article. I therefore have no intention of resigning my living or altering my ministry in any way.

If the CCJ does not feel able to make it clear that its allegations were ill founded it will, I hope, reflect on the reliability of its informants and think very hard before naming people who might in the future be the innocent victims of ill-considered complaints.

Revd Dr Stephen Sizer
Virginia Water
1st May 2012

See also:

Jewish Rabbis, Professors, Academics, Clergy and Activists Challenge CCJ Statement
The Ugly Truth Exposed

A Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing?

Palestine Solidarity Campaign: AGM Repudiates Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial

See also letters from:

Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
Anne Clayton, Coordinator, Friends of Sabeel UK
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, University of Wales
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Patron, Friends of Sabeel UK
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder of the Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Exeter University
Venerable Michael Lawson, Rector of St Saviour’s, Guildford
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Biblelands
Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain

Church Times: Vicar is not Anti-Semitic
Church Times: Rabbi Clears Vicar of Anti-Semitism
Church Times: Dr Sizer is Cleared
Jewish Chronicle: Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite’
Jewish Chronicle: Sizer: I am ready to meet the Board of Deputies any time

Turning Wine into Water

Saturday 16th July at Stanlake Park Wine Estate,
Twyford, Berkshire, RG10 0BN
from 2:00pm-6:00pm.

There will be wine and cheese tasting with a children’s treasure hunt. Free admission but donations welcome to help provide a well  and permanent buildings for Goshen School in Nkondo in Uganda. In August a team will be going from Christ Church, Virginia Water to help with the well construction and extend the school.

For more information (and short videos) about how you can be part of this project see here.