*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Sizer receives 12-year ban from ministry after anti-Semitic ruling

31 January 2023

Alamy

Dr Stephen Sizer

Dr Stephen Sizer

THE Revd Dr Stephen Sizer has been barred from ministry until 2030 after a tribunal ruled that his conduct was anti-Semitic and therefore unbecoming to the office and work of a Clerk in Holy Orders (News, 7 December 2022).

The tribunal followed a complaint made to the diocese of Winchester about Dr Sizer, a former Vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, in Surrey, by Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who cited 11 examples of anti-Semitic behaviour between 2005 and 2018.

The Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal concluded that Dr Sizer had “provoked and offended the Jewish community” and “engaged in anti-Semitic activity”. In particular, an article that Dr Sizer posted on Facebook in January 2015 was found to be “virulently anti-Semitic” (News, 13 February 2015).

The Acting Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Debbie Sellin, said that the penalty of prohibition for 12 years (which includes time Dr Sizer has already served) reflected the seriousness of the misconduct found by the tribunal.

She said: “It is the Church of England’s task to lead in the work of enabling mutual understanding and strong, peaceable inter-faith relationships for the common good of society, and its ministers must take very seriously their role in initiating positive relationships between communities, locally, at diocesan and regional level, as well as nationally and internationally.

“Moreover, as a report from the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission affirms, the Christian-Jewish relationship should be viewed as a ‘gift of God to the Church’ to be received with care, respect and gratitude. As Archbishop Justin Welby said in 2018, in a joint letter with other Christian and Jewish leaders, antisemitism has no place in our society and those in positions of power and influence must listen to concerns about it.”

Mrs van der Zyl, said that she was “pleased” that the tribunal had made an unambiguous statement in its penalty. “Given that he indulged in ‘anti-Semitic activity’ and caused grievous offence to the Jewish community over a number of years, this is the correct decision. I am grateful to the tribunal for hearing our evidence, and look forward to a continued strong and close relationship with the Church of England in the coming years.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury said: “It’s clear that the behaviour of Stephen Sizer has undermined Christian-Jewish relations, giving encouragement to conspiracy theories and tropes that have no place in public Christian ministry and the Church.”

Dr Sizer has made no public comment so far.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

 

Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available

 

Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE

 

Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available

 

Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available

 

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)