Thursday, 31 July 2008

in support of Sam Norton

In an earlier post I'm also Dave Walker I commented on the the way in which Dave had been forced to remove posts relating to the plight of SPCK and its takeover by SSG. Mark Brewer one of the people behind SSG had sent Dave a 'cease and desist' notice. In support of Dave I published my post to draw attention to his plight.

A fellow blogger and colleague Sam Norton also posted some of the articles about SPCK that Dave had been forced to remove. Now Sam has been sent a cease and desist notice by Mark Brewer and this has been followed up by some pretty unpleasant emails from Brewer which I would argue are an attempt to silence free speech and fair comment. These communications are not simply a legal request they express opinions about Sam's character and behaviour as a priest. It seems to me Brewer is happy to indulge in attacks on the character of others while demanding no comment about his own actions or the organisation he represents, St Stephen the Great SSG, which is a registered charity in the U.K. I am therefore posting the link to Sam's blog containing the original material and the subsequent correspondance.

One of Mark Brewer's contentions is that he is a private citizen and that he does not want his details published as this is an invasion of his privacy. Here are details about Brewer and SSG which SSG publishes on its website.

Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (Charity Registration No. 1119839-1) is an Orthodox lay charity which was established in 2004 to acquire redundant churches in order to put them into use for Orthodox Christian worship. Its objects also include spreading the Gospel message through distribution of the printed word; and supporting Orthodox Christian mission in the U.K.[1]

In the ensuing 3 years, the Trust has acquired redundant churches in Dorset, West Yorkshire, County Durham, Suffolk, Norfolk and West Sussex. It has succeeded in putting these into use as Orthodox Christian Churches or is in the process of doing so. At least three of these buildings were due to be knocked down while a fourth was to be turned over to a wholly secular use.

In 2006, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge transferred the entirety of its retail trading operations to Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust. Its charity registration number is 1119839.
Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust continues to identify redundant churches in order to acquire them and return them into places of worship. Acquiring even a redundant church can be an expensive and time-consuming process. For this reason, the Trust welcomes donations and contributions – both monetary and non-monetary. The Trust also welcomes referrals from the public about closed or redundant churches.
I hope this information is of help and interest to you and your organization. I welcome your support of our bookshop as well as your help and participation in the activities of Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience.

J. Mark Brewer
Chairman and CEO
Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust

As you can see Brewer invites contact and this is the link to SSG's contact form on their website should you wish to express your concerns.

Sam and Dave please be assured of my continued support for you both at this time.
If you would like information about the background to all this Sam has posted a background briefing here.

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