Peacemaking tends to be more fruitful and lasting when undertaken discretely. Therefore, details of some ongoing Peacemaker projects and partnerships may on occasions be limited, especially in countries where minorities are experiencing persecution. Recent projects and partnerships include:
Projects in 2021
Convivencia: Jewish Network for Palestine
Convivencia simply means ‘coexistence. It is an academic hypothesis, first proposed by the Spanish philologist Américo Castro, regarding the coexistence of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities during the period of Spanish history from the Muslim Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the early eighth century until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492.
By extension the term can describe the contemporary religious and cultural interaction and exchange fostered by such proximity as a way to challenge the various forms of ethno-supremacism and exclusive religious nationalisms emerging in different parts of the world.
The Jewish Network for Palestine are presently preparing a significant document on convivencia in liaison with Muslim and Christian organisations and invited me to give a short presentation on coexistence at their recent annual meeting.
Welcome to SWVG
As a trustee of SWVG, I am delighted to share this short video about our work. It provides an introduction to the work of Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group. We are volunteers who befriend and support asylum seekers and refugees in the Southampton area.
For more information visit our website
Reading Gaza Vigil
A vigil for Gaza was held in Reading town centre on Saturday 5th June organised by Reading Muslim Council with contributions from the Jewish Network for Palestine, Cordoba Foundation, Green Party, Slough PSC and Jewish Voices for Labour. Organisers estimate that around 250 people participated in the vigil while many people out shopping stopped to listen to the presentations. At the end of the vigil balloons were released in memory of each child killed in Gaza. I gave a short presentation (below) and also offered prayers for the bereaved and injured. Continue reading →
Sabeel-Kairos Easter Service
Book Aid Charitable Trust
Despite the lockdown we have continued to receive large quantities of theological books from clergy in Hampshire and have made monthly deliveries to the local Book Aid depot in Southsea. Visit Book Aid to find out how you can support their important literature ministry by donating, buying, collecting or sorting.
Nile Valley: Helping Vulnerable Street Girls in Cairo
We work together with a local organisation in an enormous slum to the west of Cairo. Its goal is to enable vulnerable girls to go to school and learn to stand up for themselves. We have chosen a target group of 200 such girls because that is what we are able to cope with. Continue reading:
Cultivation and Climate: a Palestinian Perspective
For Fairtrade Fortnight, on Friday 26th February, Kairos Reading is holding a Zoom event with two Palestinian speakers: Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh from the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Muhanad Al-Qaisy from the Keep Hope Alive Olive Tree Campaign. They will be talking on the effects of climate and other factors, including, of course, the occupation on cultivation and fairtrade issues in Palestine. Continue reading:
Projects in 2020
Compassion for Asylum Seekers at Christmas
Nile Valley Project, Cairo
The Revd Dr Jos Strengholt is a member of the Peacemaker Trust International Board of Reference. Jos directs a number of charitable projects in Egypt through Stichting Nijlvallei (Nile Valley), a charity based in the Nederland. In this interview he shares about one project in particular, helping to feed Sudanese refugees in Cairo. Continue reading:
Book Aid Charitable Trust
United Church of Egham Charity Book Sale
After six months of lockdown, the United Church of Egham monthly charity book sale took place on Friday 25 September. The customers behaved impeccably, the volunteers were awesome and despite a gusty wind, £1,350 was raised for local charities. £500 will be going to the Runnymede Dementia Carers Support.
Stephen is a trustee of Sabeel-Kairos, a small and energetic Christian UK charity committed to supporting peace and justice in the Holy Land. We are a network of individuals, organisations and communities of all backgrounds across the UK who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people by promoting and advocating on the messages of Kairos Palestine and Sabeel Jerusalem.
The network continues the work of the Christians who issued the Iona call in 2012, and the subsequent writing of our key publication ‘Time for Action’. We seek a just and lasting peace in the region based on the realisation of full human and political rights for all.
United Methodists for Kairos Response Seminar
United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR) and Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) hosted a webinar with two recognized authorities on Christian Zionism, a disturbing political theology embraced by millions of Americans who now have a tremendous influence on US foreign policy with regard to Israel and Palestine.
In this webinar, Rev. Drs. Stephen Sizer and Munther Isaac help us understand the theology of Christian Zionism, why it is an inaccurate interpretation of Scripture, how it is harming Palestinian Christians and the entire Middle East peace process, and how to counter this theology in our churches.
To bring activists around the world together for Palestine, Kumi Now is announcing the next step of our journey: Hosting weekly video conferences to connect activists with the organizations working for Palestine and get everyone involved in activism for Palestine.
View the Peacemaker contribution to Kumi Now online here
Feeding the Poorest in Cyangugu
Cyangugu is a small strategic frontier town in the south west of Rwanda on the border with The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the southern tip of Lake Kivu, contiguous with the Congolese town of Bukavu which is accessed by two bridges across the Ruzizi river.
Rik Mager is the director of the school. His wife, Caroline, coordinates the feeding programs in the Diocese because of malnutrition in this part of Rwanda. I asked Rik for an update on the program in the light of Covid-19.
View the interview here
Welcoming Refugees & Asylum Seekers
Before the lockdown, Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group (SWVG) were working with about 80 asylum seekers and dependents in Southampton and Winchester. On a weekly basis teaching English lessons one-to-one, providing pastoral support and welcoming new refugees, directing them to local agencies best placed to help them with legal advice, accommodation and English lessons.
Due to the spread of the Covid-19, all events, as well as face to face meetings with clients, has had to cease. Instead we have maintained contact by phone and email. We have also been able to deliver food and funding to some of those most in need.
Christianity Explored Uganda
Goshen Bible Convention
In January, Stephen was a guest speaker, along with Dr Raymond Givan, at the annual Goshen Bible Convention held at Goshen School near Luweero in Uganda. Continue reading →
Projects in 2019
Sabeel International Gathering
The First Sabeel International Gathering took place in Bethlehem 2-7 December. It is said that theology is like a cross which vertically leads humanity to God, and horizontally leads us to our neighbour. For Palestinian Christians, this link was damaged during the Nakba. Unable to go back to our former theological thinking while struggling to find a way forward. Whether it was Western feelings of guilt, the theology of Christian literalists, or the ideology of Zionism, the bible was used to grant approval to the tragedy of the Palestinian people. Continue reading →
Jared Kushner’s long awaited “Deal of the Century” aspires to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians through $28 billion of investment in the Palestinian economy. Previous international initiatives have proposed exchanging land for peace. This US initiative, appropriately called “Peace to Prosperity”, unashamedly proposes trading land for money. In this regard, Kushner’s “deal” actually has strong biblical precedent. In Genesis 25 we read of how Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright for a bowl of stew. Continue reading →
Churches Welcoming Refugees
Welcome Churches is a network of churches supporting asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. Our vision is for every refugee in the UK to be welcomed by their local church.
At the end of 2018 there were approximately 157,000 refugees and asylum seekers living in the UK (UNHCR, 2018). “If every church welcomed three people seeking refuge to their community then we could easily see our vision become a reality! No matter where your church is, there is something that you can do to welcome refugees and asylum seekers into your community.”Continue reading →
Joyce is one amazing lady. She has been collecting and storing Christian books for Book Aid in her church in Portsmouth for several decades. Seen here receiving another 25 boxes of books from Southampton, Romsey and Basingstoke. Continue reading
Christianity Explored Tanzania
Jim McAnlis, Sam Oyirwoth and I returned to the Anglican Diocese of Kagera in North West Tanzania to train 70 of the clergy to teach and train others to use the course. We had launched the course in the Diocese in January 2018. Continue reading →
Goshen School Library Appeal
Shadrach Lukwago is the founder and director of Goshen School in Luweero, Uganda. He is also a pastor, coordinator for Christianity Explored in Uganda and Kiwoko Hospital pharmacist. He and his wife Nora also care for numerous orphans. Continue reading →
Christianity Explored Uganda
Jim McAnlis, Shadrach Lukwago, Sam Oyirwoth and I returned to Arua in North West Uganda in late August to train 95 student leaders and youth leaders in the Diocese of West Nile to use the Christianity Explored course at the invitation of Bishop Charles Andaku. Continue reading →
Cyangugu Theological School
In April, at the invitation of Bishop Nathan Amooti, Stephen returned to Cyangugu Theological School in Rwanda to teach a course on Judaism to students training for Christian ministry in the Diocese. Continue reading →
Peacemakers at Spring Harvest
Peacemaker USA Tour
Joining Hands for Justice in Israel & Palestine recently invited Stephen to give a series of presentations on the Bible, Israel and the Church as well as a critique of Christian Zionism in Atlanta, Georgia. Continue reading
Keep Hope Alive: Olive Tree Planting in Palestine
One of the Five Marks of Mission widely adopted as an expression of contemporary Christian mission is “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”. Stephen has just returned from participating in the Olive Tree Planting Campaign organised by the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA\YWCA in Palestine and the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG). The JAI-ATG Olive Planting Program, lasts for 10 days in February each year. Continue reading
Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, director of Jahalin Solidarity campaigns for the Bedouin community of Al Khan Alahmar in the Wadi Kelt region. Overlooked by the illegal Israeli colony of Kfar Adumim and facing a demolition order as well as occasional settler attacks, the 35 families seek to live and prosper on their historic lands they have lived on as refugees since 1952. Their school is made of mud and rubber tyres. Find out more about how you can support the Jahalin Bedouin here www.jahalin.org
Continue reading →
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme are seeking participants for our Human Rights Programme in Palestine and Israel in 2020.
Continue reading →
Southampton Winchester Visitors Group (SWVG)
SWVG are a group of volunteers who befriend and support adult asylum seekers and refugees in the Southampton area. Stephen is presently undergoing training to become a visitor. SWVG seek to improve the lives of asylum seekers in the Southampton area and support those that are destitute. Find out more about SWVG here Continue reading
Kumi NOW: Justice Together
Sabeel Jerusalem, in partnership with many other Palestinian and international organisations, have launched an initiative called Kumi Now – https://kuminow.com/
Each week the Kumi Now project will highlight a different organisation working to raise awareness about specific issues in Israel-Palestine, provide information about an issue of injustice through the stories of those effected, and promote a creative nonviolent advocacy action. The goal is to raise awareness on Palestine and exert pressure on the powerful decision makers of the world to do what is right in order to end the occupation and build a just peace. Continue reading
Projects in 2018
Sudanese Refugees in Cairo
Every Sunday after church, Sudanese refugees in Cairo receive a simple meal. They get one or two sandwiches. We serve 6 churches from different denominations. In total about 850 people each week. Half of those are children. We do this because these people are refugees in Cairo and get very little help. It is also a small token of our love for them. And it encourages the community life of the churches Continue reading
Christ at the Checkpoint USA
It has been a delight to participate in the first Christ at the Checkpoint conference in the USA. Hosted by churches in Oklahoma City, the conference was attended by about 150 participants from the USA, Canada, Israel, Palestine and Europe.
The theme of the conference was “Exploring Holy Land Realities and our Response”. Subjects discussed through plenaries and breakout sessions included Palestinian Christianity in the Midst of the Conflict; Jewish and Christian Attitudes to the Conflict; Christian Zionism; Strategies of Nonviolent Resistance; and Promoting Peace. Continue reading →
Theological Training in Tanzania
In January, Stephen visited Murgwanza in Kagera Diocese as a member of the Christianity Explored team to help train 130 lay leaders and youth leaders to use the course. Arising from that visit, Bishop Darlington Bendankeha invited me to return to Murgwanza to teach ordinands undertaking a three-year diploma course for ministry at the Diocesan theological college. Kagera is situated in north west Tanzania high on a ridge overlooking the borders of Burundi and Rwanda near the shores of Lake Victoria. It is one of the poorest regions of Tanzania. More than half the population live on less that $1 per day. Continue reading→
Christianity Explored Kenya & Uganda
At the invitation of Bishop Tim Wambunya, Bishop of Butere in Western Kenya, Jim, Brian and I travelled to Butere via Nairobi and Kisumu in September to train 50 lay pastors in the Diocese to use the Christianity Explored course. Bishop Tim’s aspiration is for all his lay pastors to receive the training. Continue reading →
Cyangugu Theological School, Rwanda
Stephen has just returned from a week’s teaching in Cyangugu, Rwanda. Bishop Nathan Amooti, the Anglican Bishop of Cyangugu, invited Stephen to teach a module on Judaism and Christianity at the new Diocesan Theological School, which opened in March. Continue reading
Following the annual conference in Oxford on 30th June, Sabeel-Kairos UK have published Investing for Peace: A Guide for Local Church Activists.
This booklet outlines the Morally Responsible Investment Campaign. Read more here
Australian Lecture Tour
In March, Stephen was invited to give a series of lectures on a biblical perspective on Israel and the Church at several theological colleges, churches and conferences in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. He was also interviewed by several local and national radio stations and led the staff devotions for World Vision Australia. The tour was sponsored by Fighting Fathers, the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network, Friends of Sabeel Australia, the Surrender Conference, World Vision Australia and the Peacemaker Trust. Continue reading
In June, Stephen collected a further 35 boxes of theological books for Book Aid which were delivered to their warehouse in South London. The books came from several retired clergy in Southampton and a church in Hythe. Continue reading
Christianity Explored Tanzania
For two weeks in January 2018, Jim McAnlis, Sam Oyirwoth and Stephen were invited by Bishop Darlington Bendankeha of Kagera Diocese in Tanzania, to train 150 of his clergy to use the Christianity Explored course. They also returned to the Anglican Peace Centre in Cyangugu on the Rwandan border with the DRC, to equip a further 50 clergy from Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo. Continue reading
Evangelical Theological College Asia
ETCAsia exists for one purpose: to prepare godly men and women for gospel ministry in Singapore, Southeast Asia and beyond. It is a non-denominational college and welcomes students from all denominations and together hopes to serve all churches in Singapore and Asia. I was invited to lecture on the Bible, Israel and the Church. Stephen was invited to give three presentations based on his book, Zion’s Christian Soldiers: The Bible, Israel and the Church: Continue reading
Our Religious Freedom
Religious freedoms in the UK have taken centuries to build, but intolerance, complacency and uniformity are slowly eroding them away. It’s easy to sit back and ignore the damage because, like erosion, it’s not always immediately visible on the surface. But look a little closer and you can begin to see the cracks.
When nurses are being sacked for wearing crosses or praying, and students are being kicked off their course for their beliefs, you have to ask yourself how safe these freedoms are. At what point do you act? We are not looking for a quick fix. Erosion needs prevention and that prevention is a new law: a new law, once and for all, to safeguard, all aspects of freedom of religion or belief before we lose them, along with freedom of speech. Peacemakers is pleased to endorse this initiative. Read more about Our Religious Freedom
The pursuit of peace knows no barriers, no borders, no exclusions, no exceptions. Therefore, one of Peacemaker’s mission priorities is mediation. The Good Friday Agreement brought an end to the decades of violence and bloodshed in Northern Ireland. However, Brexit and the British withdrawal from European Human Rights legislation threatens the peace agreement. There are real fears of a return to violence and extremism. The influx of refugees and asylum seekers has further tested the harmony and coexistence in the community.
Stephen has helped facilitate a series of meetings at An Cuan, the YWAM Centre in Rostrevor, bringing together Republicans and Unionists, Roman Catholics and Protestants as well as representatives of other faith minorities, to address their seemingly irreconcilable hopes and expectations constructively. The outcome was the publication of the Rostrevor Declaration last month, which Stephen helped to draft, which it is hoped will strengthen the Good Friday Agreement and maintain peace in Ireland. See latest January 2018 update. See also photos.
Projects in 2017
In November 2017, Stephen assisted Canon Naim Ateek and Omar Haramy with the Sabeel Witness Visit to Palestine. The theme of the tour was ‘Christian Zionism and Colonialism – A Response from Palestinian Christians’. Stephen gave three presentations during the week on the historical roots, the theological basis and the political consequences of Christian Zionism. He also gave a biblical refutation called Seven Biblical Answers. Read more here
Justice Conference Asia
The Balfour Project
Over five years ago, Stephen helped to set up the Balfour Project to highlight Britain’s record in Palestine before and during its Mandate. In 2012, Stephen delivered a paper at the Church of Scotland/Balfour Project conference held in Edinburgh entitled, Broken Promises: The Road to Balfour. He also contributed a paper to the Balfour Project website, A Theology of the Land.
The Suffering Church in Exile
Kairos Sabeel Nederlands held a day conference on 23rd September at St John’s Church, Amersfoort, to launch the Dutch translation of Walter Brueggemann’s book, Chosen? Reading the Bible amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Stephen was asked to give a summary and critique of Dr Brueggemman’s book and also lead a seminar on The Bible, Israel and the Church. Read more here.
For 25 years, Stephen has been a trustee of Biblica Europe: International Bible Society. Biblica was founded in 1809 and provide the Bible in accurate, contemporary translations and formats so that more people around the world will have the opportunity to be transformed by Jesus Christ. Biblica is the translation sponsor of the New International Version Bible. With over 600 million copies in print and countless digital versions, it is the most trusted modern Bible translation in the world. Read more here.
Christianity Explored East Africa
The Right Revd Nathan Amooti, the Anglican Bishop of Cyangugu, Rwanda, invited Jim McAnlis, Shadrach Lukwago and Stephen to help equip clergy from Rwanda, Burundi and Congo to use the Christianity Explored course last week. Thirty clergy participated in the intensive three day training conference, held at the beautiful Anglican Guest House in Cyangugu on the shores of Lake Kivu near the Congolese border crossing between Bukavu and Risuzu. The Right Revd Seth Ndayirukiye, the new Bishop of Matana Diocese, Burundi contribute as well. Read more here.
In Uganda, through Christianity Explored, we have been equipping and training church leaders from Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, South Sudan and Kenya to work together for the sake of the gospel. Read more here
Christianity Explored Middle East
The Arabic editions of Christianity Explored (adult and youth) were recently launched in Cairo and Beirut. Around 300 Egyptian, Lebanese, Sudanese, Druze and Bedouin Christian leaders were introduced to the course. In Beirut the event was hosted by the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. Contact Stephen for more information about receiving training or a copies of the course. Read more here.
Promoting Religious Harmony in Morocco
In May, Stephen spoke at a conference at the University of Oujda as well as preached in the Anglican churches in Casablanca and Rabat. Read more here.
By God’s grace and with your support, Peacemaker Trust will continue to further the cause of justice, peace and reconciliation where invited and most needed.