Social media ban lifted for Stephen Sizer

The Bishop of Guildford has lifted the ban on using social media given to the rector of Virginia Water, the Rev. Stephen Sizer, saying the terms of the six month suspension he had imposed on 9 Feb 2015 had been met. In a statement released by the diocese on 3 Sept 2015, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Watson wrote: “I have met with Stephen in the past days for positive discussions, reaffirming his commitment and planning for his vital work as Vicar of the Parish of Virginia Water, and I look forward to our continued work together in support of this.” A critic of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, Mr. Sizer has been challenged by Jewish groups over his remarks on Twitter and Facebook as well as his participation in anti-Zionist conferences. A February 2015 posting on Twitter suggesting Israel was behind the 9/11 terror attacks in New York was condemned by the bishop as exhibiting “appallingly poor judgment”. However, Bishop Watson declared he was satisfied Mr. Sizer had not been motivated by prejudice. He noted: “The other agreements outlined in my statement of 9 February will remain in place but, in all this, I would like to reiterate a point that I made in February, that I do not believe Stephen’s motivation to be anti-Semitic.”

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