The Rev Stephen Sizer has been suspended from the ordained ministry of the Church of England for 12 years for making anti-Semitic utterances.
Last month an ecclesiastical court found Dr. Sizer guilty of having committed four of “antisemitic activity”. The court concluded that four of the eleven charges brought against Dr. Sizer had been proven and that his conduct had been “unbecoming to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders,” in that he “provoked and offended” the Jewish community over a sustained period.
Dr Sizer was found to have shared a platform with a Holocaust denier and had promoted anti-Semitic materials on social media, including an article entitled “9/11/Israel did it”. The 68-year retired vicar of Christ Church Virginia Water was also criticized by the trial court for being “disingenuous with his answers”.
The Board of Deputies for British Jews brought the charges in 2018, leading to the proceedings under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure, which included his suspension pending the outcome of these proceedings.
On 30 January 2023 the tribunal meeting in London held: “The unanimous conclusion of the tribunal is that the appropriate period of prohibition from exercising any ministry or functions as a clerk in holy orders, in this case, is a period of twelve years.”
Tribunal further stated the five years that Dr. Sizer has been under suspension will count towards the 12 year ban, meaning he will be unable to exercise the office of priest until December 2030.
After the sentence was handed down, the Archbishop of Canterbury released a statement saying:
Following today’s penalty judgment of the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Winchester regarding the Revd Dr Stephen Sizer, the Archbishop of Canterbury said:
“I note the findings of the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Winchester regarding the Revd Dr Stephen Sizer and his subsequent prohibition from licensed ministry in the Church of England. It is 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. I renew my call for the highest possible standards among ordained ministers of the Church of England in combatting antisemitism of all kinds.”