So­cial media ban on vicar is lifted

The Church of England - - NEWS -

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 Fe­bru­ary 2015 had been met.

In a state­ment re­leased by the dio­cese on 3 Septem­ber, 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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