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Statement on Stephen Sizer

Date: 02 November 2016
A statement from the Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson:
In February 2015, Dr Stephen Sizer undertook to refrain from writing or speaking on themes relating to the current situation in the Middle East and to its historical backdrop for as long as he remained a parish priest in the Diocese of Guildford. Until now, this agreement has been upheld in letter and spirit, however Dr Sizer recently attended an event which clearly engages in these themes, and around which there has subsequently been understandable controversy. Additionally, Dr Sizer published a social media post relating to the event, also contravening his agreement.
Dr Sizer has already given notice of his resignation as vicar of Virginia Water from Easter 2017, and said that he attended the event in question on the understanding that our agreement no longer stood now that his resignation had been tendered. This is certainly not the case. I have spoken with Dr Sizer to make clear that I am disappointed by his actions and to clarify that our agreement categorically must run until the end of his tenure of office. 
Dr Sizer is aware how seriously I view this and has stated to me that it was not his intention to break the agreement which he has upheld until now. However, with its terms now clarified beyond any doubt, Dr Sizer has been warned that any further breach of the agreement must result in his tenure of office ending with immediate effect.

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