In what must be seen as a most serious public reprimand to one of its ministers/priests, the Bishop of the Guildford Diocese of the Church of England has brought strict discipline to bear on Rev. Stephen Sizer regarding the latter’s continuing and most recent anti-Israel (anti-semitic?) activities.
James Jacob Prasch also encouraged the Bishop to do so with a stirring letter of his own. (See foot of page.)
As part of his statement the Bishop Rt. Rev. Andrew Wilson has said: “It is my view that Stephen’s strong but increasingly undisciplined commitment to an anti-Zionist agenda has become a liability to his own ministry and that of the wider church.”
The Bishop continued: “He has promised to refrain, with no exceptions, from attendance at or participation in any conferences which promote or are linked to [Sizer’s ‘Israel’] agenda; from all writing, tweeting, blogging, emailing, preaching and teaching on these themes, whether formally or informally – a prohibition which of course includes posting links to other sites; and from all background work in this area which may resource others to act as spokespeople in Stephen’s stead.
“Should Stephen be deemed by the Diocese to have broken this agreement, in letter or in spirit, he has pledged to offer me his immediate resignation, which I will duly accept. He has also agreed to desist from the use of social media entirely for the next six months, after which he and I will review that prohibition.”
The following links tell the story –
Stephen Sizer’s written undertaking reads:
(Wed 4th Feb 2015) To the Bishop of Guildford:
Dear Bishop Andrew,
As a minister of the gospel it is not my role to create controversy but to seek to maintain unity between the faith communities. I therefore very much regret the distress I have caused to the Jewish community, to my church and to you by my actions, for which I take full responsibility.
Following the events of the past week, and my meetings with you and the Archdeacon, I would like to give you and the PCC of Christ Church, Virginia Water a solemn undertaking to refrain from writing or speaking on any theme that relates, directly or indirectly, to the current situation in the Middle East or to its historical backdrop. This prohibition will include:
– Attendance at or participation in any conferences that promote or are linked to these themes.
– All writing, tweeting, blogging, emailing, preaching and teaching on these themes, whether formally or informally.
– All background work on these themes which will resource others to act as spokespeople in my stead.
I am grateful for your forbearance in allowing me to continue my work within the parish. I agree that any ministry outside the parish should be subject to consultation with the Archdeacon and the churchwardens. I promise that I will stay within both the letter and the spirit of this undertaking, and – should I break it at any point while serving in any post in the diocese – will offer you my resignation.
I understand that this undertaking will need to be made public, and am content that it should be so.
With all good wishes, and the sincerest apologies,
The Revd Dr Stephen Sizer