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Your Certificate of Vocation May 8, 2012

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Church, Life, Theological Reflection.
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Vocation is not a career: it is a life surrendered to God - Martyn Percy, 29/4/2012 (pdf, A4 landscape; 1.2MB)

Vocation is not a career: it is a life surrendered to God – Martyn Percy, 29/4/2012

As heard on BBC Radio 4, Sunday Worship for Vocations Sunday, 29th April 2012, from Ripon College, Cuddesdon: Called Together (transcript differs slightly from the broadcast programme, but captures the essence).

Council of Christians and Jews @CCJUK issues clarification of findings by Surrey Police May 6, 2012

Posted by Phil Groom in Life.
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FURTHER TO MY POST ON FRIDAY, in which I called upon CCJ to acknowledge the findings of the Crown Prosecution Service in response to their allegations against Stephen Sizer, I was delighted to discover this afternoon that they have in fact done so, along with a scanned copy of the letter they received from the investigating officer:

CCJ: Clarification From Surrey Police

CCJ: Clarification From Surrey Police

Clarification From Surrey Police

Over the past weeks we have been aware of social media conversations regarding the Revd Stephen Sizer and link that he made to a disturbing website from his Facebook page. We received a serious complaint about this matter and informed Mr Sizer’s Bishop of our concern.

We sought the advice of the Surrey Police to ascertain the nature and the content of the website to which Mr Sizer provided a link. We have noted the CPS response and are now grateful for the clarity which they have offered. See below

We also acknowledge Mr Sizer’s recollections of the sequence of conversations around the removal of the link, which would seem to be at variance with our own understanding.

I’m guessing that the “social media conversations” they “have been aware of” included my comments on their facebook page and on twitter, to which they never responded directly. Had they done so, of course, then my post on Friday would have been somewhat different; I therefore salute them as they attempt to get to grips with social media but offer this simple observation: conversation involves engaging with another party, not ignoring them and then issuing statements as from above. When you are one of the parties involved, it is not sufficient to “be aware” of a conversation: you need to take part in it. Then, hopefully, there can be some constructive dialogue…

Nonetheless, the statement has been issued and I thank them for it. It is less than the apology to Stephen that I would like to have seen but it does, hopefully, now draw a line under the matter.

Dr Sizer is cleared – Church Times; and a public call to @CCJUK to acknowledge the truth of the CPS findings May 4, 2012

Posted by Phil Groom in Watching and Waiting.
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SO READS THE HEADLINE in Ed Thornton’s report in today’s Church Times (News, p.8) of the debacle in which the Council of Christians and Jews, CCJ, made allegations of antisemitism and inciting racial hatred against the Revd Stephen Sizer.

Unfortunately the article is subscriber only content, but Google have kindly provided a teaser:

Church Times – Dr Sizer is cleared
THE Crown Prosecution Service has decided that a cleric who was accused of posting anti-Semitic content online did not commit any criminal offence.

The article goes on to cite the statement issued by Surrey Police previously noted here, Crown Prosecution Service decision on @CCJUK v/s Stephen Sizer finds no offence committed:

Surrey detectives carried out a thorough and extensive review of the material in question and following liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service it has been determined that no criminal offences have been committed. The matter has now been closed and no further action is being taken.

Stephen posted the following response on his blog last week, The Ugly Truth Exposed:

My support for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, based on international law and recognised borders, achieved by peaceful and democratic means, has unfortunately left me open to what can only be described as an unbalanced and targeted campaign from certain quarters, a situation which is deeply regrettable.

I care passionately about the safety of the Jewish people. I repudiate racism, anti-Semitism as well as Islamophobia. I would not have posted a link to a website I knew to be anti-Semitic. Having consulted a number of Jewish friends, I now keep a small list of websites to avoid in future. I will be more careful about the origin of material I post on my blog and Facebook, and welcome opportunities for discussion with members of the Jewish community to move forwards in a spirit of mutual respect.

Sadly, however, CCJ appear to be unwilling to acknowledge the truth of the matter and have thus far only issued a brief acknowledgment that they have

received the advice of the Surrey Police, together with that of the appropriate legal authorities

with no indication of what that advice consists of.

As a member of CCJ I find this response from CCJ disappointing, to say the least, if not thoroughly disingenuous. I can see no reason why CCJ should hide the truth of the matter like this and I now call upon them to issue a full and honest statement, acknowledging the CPS findings.

The police have declared the matter closed. Stephen has said that he wishes to see a line drawn under the matter. I call upon CCJ to do likewise. To fail to do so is a thoroughly reprehensible  act of moral cowardice.

… and an apology to Stephen for the distress caused by an unnecessary investigation would not go amiss either.

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