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Anti-Semitism complaint filed against Surrey vicar: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2012 p 6. November 29, 2012

Posted by geoconger in British Jewry, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Free Speech.
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The Board of Deputies of British Jews has lodged a complaint with the Diocese of Guilford accused the Vicar of Christ Church Virginia Water,with anti-Semitism.

The Rev. Stephen Sizer has been accused under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 for misconduct consisting of “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders”.

The Chief Executive of the Board, Mr. Jon Benjamin told the Church of England Newspaper they had met “with the Bishop of Guildford who noted the formal mechanism for complaints that we have followed.”

On 31 Oct 2012 the Diocese of Guilford released a statement saying “the Bishop of Guildford is considering a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure against Dr Stephen Sizer and will be following the statutory procedures provided in the Measure.”

“Nothing else can be said at present, since the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 ensures that legitimate complaints against members of Anglican clergy are dealt with appropriately.”

Mr. Sizer has not responded to requests for comments on the allegations.

In its complaint, the Board said Mr. Sizer “spends time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet for material to add to his website. Rev Sizer re-publishes such items to support the target of his polemical writing, while at the same introducing his readers to the racist and anti-Semitic websites from where he draws his material.”

Mr. Sizer had kept some “strange company” for a “Church of England vicar,” the Board said in a statement released on its website denouncing his association with “Holocaust deniers”, Iranian government agencies and anti-Israel groups. However, its complaint lay not in politics or “his supersessionist theology.  While we view all of these with concern and distaste, Rev Sizer is entitled to his views and may travel where he wants.”

“But we draw the line at making statements that we regard as anti-Semitic and advertising the content of racist and anti-Semitic websites.  It is a matter of great regret that we are driven to make this complaint, but the Jewish community should not have to stomach material that we see as crossing the line into anti-Semitism,” the Board statement said.

“We are not seeking to have him stopped from his ministry or dismissed from his job.  We only ask one thing, which is that effective measures are taken to prevent him from publishing or re-publishing material that we find to be not merely offensive but anti-Semitic.  We don’t think that’s too much to ask,” the Board said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Stained glass ruling from Guildford Consistory Court: The Church of England Newspaper, August 19, 2012 p 5. August 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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Nave of St Nicolas Cranleigh

The alleviation of tedium during a sermon is insufficient grounds for objecting to the installation of stained glass windows in a church, the judge of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Guildford ruled last week.

At a hearing held before Andrew Jordan, Chancellor of the Diocese of Guildford and a judge of the Consistory Court, a petition brought by a parishioner of the Church of St Nicolas in Cranleigh challenged the decision by the parish council to install stained glass windows.

In 1944 a V-1 rocket exploded some seventy yards from the church, destroying the Church Room and Infant School, and doing considerable damage to the Church. Of the fourteen stained-glass windows, only three on the south side were preserved. Clear panes of glass were installed at the east end of the church behind the altar.

The Consistory Court approved a Parochial Church Council decision for Baynard’s Chapel to revert to a stained glass window designed by Rachel Mulligan.

One parishioner objected to the plan saying the clear light from the windows was aesthetically appealing, and provided a view of a cedar tree grown from a sapling brought from the Holy Land by a previous rector.

In his ruling the judge held this was insufficient grounds to object to the installation of stained glass windows.

“Whether the movement of an ancient cedar tree seen through clear glass is an aid to devotion or merely passes the time in one of the duller moments of the rector’s sermon will be a matter of personal taste or private spirituality, but the same may be said of stained glass,” the court held.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.