Stephen Sizer banned from ministry for 12 years

Rev Dr Stephen Sizer(Photo: YouTube/Stephen Sizer)

The Church of England has banned evangelical priest, Dr Stephen Sizer, from ministry for 12 years after a tribunal ruled that he had engaged in "conduct unbecoming" of an ordained minister.

The Acting Bishop of Winchester, Debbie Sellin, said the penalty "reflects the seriousness of the misconduct found by the tribunal".

Dr Sizer was brought before the Bishop's Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Winchester after a complaint in 2018 by Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

During the tribunal, Dr Sizer strongly denied being antisemitic. The verdict handed down in December concluded that he had engaged in antisemitic activity and "conduct unbecoming" of an ordained minister.

The prohibition from licensed ministry will be in place until 2030 as it includes time already served since the complaint was raised in 2018.

Commenting on the penalty, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: "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." 

Bishop Sellin 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."