2023 highlights: Here’s what you’ve made happen

8 January 2024

Andrea Williams, our Chief Executive, shares the highlights of 2023 for Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, which supporters’ prayers, donations and advocacy have played a major role in bringing to fruition.

As 2024 is upon us, I would like to personally thank you for your invaluable support for Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre. Your prayer and donations have enabled us to continue defending the freedoms of Christians across the UK, and ultimately in the nations.

Below, I’ve written just some of what has happened in 2023. So much more has happened behind the scenes, but I hope looking at these highlights encourage and remind you of God’s goodness going into the new year.

Month by month, year by year, God has provided the funds needed for this work through Christians like you. Today we celebrate and persevere in hope to see righteousness established in our hearts, our nation and beyond.

January to March

As 2023 started, the Church of England pushed forwards with proposals for same-sex blessings.

We helped people write to bishops and provided research to dispel the myth that the church had to embrace LGBT ideology to reach young people. We helped faithful Church of England synod members make their case and helped Sam Margrave who was reported by a bishop for hate crime over criticism of Pride.

The government announced it would continue with plans to introduce a ‘conversion therapy’ ban, which we opposed throughout the year. Legislation for censorship zones around abortion clinics were agreed in the House of Lords despite warnings they breach free speech.

On the positive side, the government announced a review into materials used for RSE in schools after many of our cases had highlighted inappropriate teaching in primary schools.

These include Kristie Higgs, whose case was finally heard at the Employment Appeal Tribunal after multiple panel members had to be recused due to apparent bias.

We won several cases, including Dave McConnell, whose conviction for ‘misgendering’ while street preaching was overturned.

Rev. Patrick Pullicino also won a £10,000 settlement from an NHS trust after he was bullied out of his role as a hospital chaplain, when NHS bosses claimed equality and diversity takes precedence over his religious beliefs.

We also helped groups in South Africa, South Korea and the British Virgin Islands stand for Jesus and for truth in their own cultural contexts.

Other cases included:

  • Teacher Joshua Sutcliffe, who we supported at a Teaching Regulation Agency hearing
  • Chaplain Rev. Dr Bernard Randall, who challenged his blacklisting by a Church of England diocese at the Employment Tribunal
  • Theology lecturer Aaron Edwards, who was sacked for tweeting warnings about homosexuality invading the Church
  • The Abbasis and Lanre Haastrup, who successfully challenged life- long anonymity orders in tragic end of life cases

April to June

Despite the explicitly Christian Coronation of King Charles III, in some areas the country continued to rebel against God’s good pattern for families and sexuality.

The County Court ruled against Christian parent Izzy Montague‘s challenge of the extreme LGBT ideology being taught at her child’s former school.

‘Hannah’, a Christian teacher, was told to re-mortgage her home to pay £14,000 legal costs after she raised safeguarding concerns about an 8-year-old child who was ‘transitioning gender’.

Joshua Sutcliffe was given an indefinite ban from teaching due to an incident where he was accused of ‘misgendering’ a teenage girl.

However, there were several significant wins in our cases.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal overturned the previous bad judgment in Kristie Higgs‘ case after she was dismissed for Facebook posts critiquing trans ideology being taught in schools. She is still waiting for the final outcome of her case, which started in 2018.

Christian mayoral candidate Maureen Martin won a significant settlement after she lost her job for pro-marriage beliefs in her manifesto.

Dr David Mackereth was declared fit to practise after referring himself to the General Medical Council, having been told his Christian, gender-critical beliefs amounted to harassment.

And Dr Michael Davidson of Core Issues Trust and the International Foundation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice, won a settlement of over £20,000 from Barclays Bank.

The organisations, which help people dealing with issues of sexuality and gender, had previously had their accounts closed because of pressure from Pride campaigners.

July to September

We helped Sudiksha Thirumalesh and her family to challenge a ruling that deemed her “delusional” and unable to make her own decisions about continued medical treatment. They said this despite hospital-appointed psychologists who said she had capacity to. She died on 12 September, still anonymous due to a ‘transparency order’ that had prevented her fundraising for continued treatment.

We supported Christians in the British Virgin Islands who were resisting the imposition of same-sex marriage in a case of a lesbian couple who lived and were ‘married’ in the United Kingdom.

Social worker Felix Ngole, whose landmark free speech case was won in 2019, challenged the withdrawal of a job offer when his would-be employer discovered his previous case and Biblical beliefs about marriage.

His case was delayed due to the need to challenge quasi-evidence that Felix’s Christian beliefs would cause disproportionate distress to those he would work with.

We helped Councillor King Lawal, whose life was torn apart due to his tweet sharing Biblical beliefs about pride and LGBT.

A poll we commissioned on ‘conversion therapy’ showed that the UK public don’t really support a ban.

And we held our 13th Wilberforce Academy, with over 70 students, graduates and young professionals receiving a week of intensive training and fellowship. Along with their regular Refocus days, we are seeing a generation of young Christians being equipped to serve Christ in bold, biblical and beautiful ways.

October to December

The last three months of the year saw many legal cases supported or resolved.

The most significant was likely just before Christmas, when the government announced improved draft guidelines on how schools should treat gender-questioning pupils. This was promised as a result of our case supporting Nigel and Sally Rowe, which the government settled last year.

The new rules are a significant step forwards in protecting young people from transgender ideology – and we need to make sure the government goes even further in the new year.

We supported Indi Gregory and her family as UK courts refused to allow her continued treatment offered for free in Italy, ignoring important evidence from medical experts that alternative treatment for Indi could improve her condition.

She died on 13 November.

We helped teacher Glawdys Leger who faced a Teaching Regulation Agency hearing to determine if she should be barred from teaching after expressing her Biblical, Christian views at a Church of England school. She was eventually found guilty of unacceptable conduct, but was not barred from teaching.

You’ve helped us stand for Christ in many other ways including:

  • Helping Rev. Calvin Robinson win a settlement for his cancellation for Christian views
  • Continuing to help councillor King Lawal, who was reinstated as a Conservative councillor
  • Assisting his fellow councillor Anthony Stevens who faced prosecution (eventually dropped) for his defence of free speech for Christians
  • Supporting Stephen Green, who was prosecuted for allegedly violating an abortion buffer zone
  • Challenging the legality of a buffer zone in Bournemouth
  • Launching legal action for Dr Aaron Edwards for his firing for Biblical views
  • Highlighting the damage caused to faithful ministers in the Church of England by the church’s embrace of LGBT ideology
  • Telling the story of Rev. Brett Murphy, who is being pursued by the Church of England for possible discipline after he said a trans woman minister is really “a bloke”
  • Winning the right for street preacher Ian Sleeper to appeal a ruling which upheld his arrest
  • Helping Rev. Dr Bernard Randall challenge his former school for malicious safeguarding referrals
  • Launching the Free to Talk website, highlighting the problems with a ‘conversion therapy’ ban
  • Releasing Christians in the Firing Line 2, which tells the story of many more Christians facing pressure for their beliefs

Thank you for being part of the Christian Concern community

I am eternally grateful for your partnership and participation in our ministry. We give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his mercies endure forever. Indeed it is salvation in Jesus Christ that allows us to do good works.

This year, may we see his name glorified in our nation through the statutes that govern everyday life.

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