Giving thanks for 2022: the year in review

21 December 2022

What are you grateful for in 2022?

We’ve seen many cases won over the past year, including Nigel and Sally Rowe’s challenge over trans policies in schools; Dr Dermot Kearney’s case against the General Medical Council, and who has now helped to save over 30 babies from unwanted abortions; and the likes of Maureen Martin, Derek Timms and Mary Onuoha, who all secured freedoms to manifest the Christian faith in public and the workplace.

In the final episode of Round the Table in 2022, Paul Huxley, Tim Dieppe and Andrea Williams looked back over the past year, highlighting the ways in which God has been moving in our nation, through our cases and campaigns, bringing the hope of the gospel to many communities across the UK.

Free to manifest your Christian faith in workplace

In January 2022, Mary Onuoha won the judgment in her case. Previously, Mary had been told – repeatedly – to remove her cross necklace at work, despite others in her workplace being allowed other jewellery and outward manifestations of their religions.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Mary, explained: “It was found that she had been directly discriminated against … That is a massive win.”

She continued: “The important thing is that Christians don’t have to stop being Christians when they enter the workplace. We want to keep people being able to shine the light of Christ brightly in all those situations.”

Freedom of conscience upheld for NHS and care workers

In February and March, we worked hard to give NHS and care workers the freedom to choose whether to have the Covid vaccine, after they were told they would lose their jobs if they didn’t get vaccinated.

Tim Dieppe explained: “We didn’t take a position either way on whether you should or shouldn’t take the vaccine. What we did take a position on was that people should have the right to choose, the right to follow their conscience on it. We felt very strongly that the government should not be mandating or forcing anyone, on pain of losing your job, your whole livelihood, to take the vaccine.”

Andrea Williams also commented: “It’s all about keeping the nation open for the good of the gospel. Keeping Jesus Christ famous at the heart of our society, making him known at the heart of our society.”

Doctor cleared over abortion pill reversal

Dr Dermot Kearney was blocked from providing emergency life-saving treatment to unborn babies for women who regret taking the abortion pill.

However, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Dermot challenged the ruling preventing him from providing the life-saving treatment. Thankfully, just before his case was due to go to the High Court, the General Medical Council (GMC) reversed the ban against him, after concluding that there was no case to answer.

Thankfully, Dermot has been able to continue providing the treatment to women who have unwanted abortions and have taken the first abortion pill. He has now helped to save over 30 babies.

Pastor wins employment case over Pride tweets

Keith Waters, a pastor, was pushed out of his part-time job as a school caretaker after he sent a tweet warning that Pride events are harmful to children.

But in April 2022, the Employment Tribunal ruled that the school had discriminated against Keith for forcing him out.

Tim Dieppe commented on the win: “It serves as a helpful warning to other organisations that might think you can just dismiss somebody for expressing Christian beliefs on social media, that you can’t do that.”

Paul Huxley, Communications Manager also added: “This is wonderful, particularly for pastors who ‘tent make’, those who have other jobs. How important is it that they are able to continue their role as pastors and do all the things we expect and hope our pastors will do, including speaking on important issues. How important is it that they get protection.”

‘Real movement has happened because of Nigel and Sally’s victory’

Following a five-year legal battle, Christian parents Nigel and Sally Rowe secured a commitment from the government to reform transgender policies in primary schools and £22,000 in legal costs.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Nigel Rowe, 49 and his wife Sally, 47, had taken legal action against the Department for Education after they and their six-year-old son were labelled ‘transphobic’ by a Church of England primary school for refusing to ‘believe’ in transgender affirming policies.

Commenting on this victory Andrea Williams said: “Real movement has happened in this. Real movement has happened. It was a victory for Nigel and Sally. The government are going back to the drawing board on this [and] they’re going to review and change their guidance as a result of Nigel and Sally’s stand.”

However, she lamented that while it is good news that the government is reviewing its own policies, the Church of England’s own trans-affirming guidelines for schools, Valuing All God’s Children, is still in place.

Wilberforce Academy: ‘Seeking to make Jesus known’

Over 100 people gathered this year for our Wilberforce Academy which trains young professionals to think clearly about how to serve Christ in their vocations.

One delegate, Jaymin Shah, said: “The Wilberforce Academy has really challenged me to be bold. Everyone will eventually have to face a decision about whether they’re going to stand for Christ – it’s a matter of when, not if. And it’s challenged me to make that stand.”

Praying for the hundreds of delegates who have attended the Wilberforce Academy over the years, Andrea Williams says: “Lord, raise up these young men and women put them into places of great influence, I pray, for your kingdoms purposes. Jesus, may your name be famous in and through this next generation – they are absolutely wonderful, they’re fiery, they love Him, they’re uncompromising.”

Communications manager Paul Huxley adds: “they are really active and seeking to make Jesus known.”

Keeping Jesus’ name free to be spoken

This year, it’s been a privilege to stand with a number of street preachers who have shared the good news of the gospel and sought to make Jesus known.

One Christian Legal Centre victory were particularly thankful for this year, is the “fantastic win” achieve in the case of Hatun Tash. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, the fearless street preacher recently received an apology from the Met police and £10,000 in compensation after challenging two wrongful arrests.

We were also delighted to stand with and secure victories in the cases of Shaun O’Sullivan and John Dunn, among others. Remarkably, in the case of John Dunn, the Crown Prosecution Service had argued that parts of the Bible are “abusive” and “no longer appropriate in modern society.”

Following mounting pressure from a Christian Concern petition and questions from members of parliament, the government have, in a win for Christian freedoms, said the CPS’ comments were inappropriate

Felix Ngole giving glory to God during his graduation

Felix Ngole was expelled from his social work Masters’ degree at the University of Sheffield in 2016 after he posted comments on Facebook in support of Biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality.

His amazing win at the Court of Appeal not only upheld the rights of UK Christians to freely express their faith, but also made it clear in law that Christians very much have the right to express Biblical views on social media and elsewhere in public without fear for their professional careers. The ruling also made it clear that holding and sharing Biblical views does not mean that someone will act in a discriminatory way.

Six years after starting the arduous process of legal challenges, and one pandemic later, Felix describes himself as “elated” at having graduated.

Andrea Williams said: “The best thing of all was to see Felix walk that stage and fall on his face in thankfulness to God. In front of the chancellor of Sheffield University, in front of all the graduands who are graduating with him, he was giving glory to God. Well, that’s Felix Ngole. What a man!”

Watch the full episode below:

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