Anglican vicar says trust in Church is shaken after Stephen Sizer affair

A Church of England vicar has challenged the handling of an investigation into a fellow Anglican whose blog linked to websites promoting Holocaust denial and Zionist conspiracy theories.

Reverend Nick Howard claimed comments made by officials from the Diocese of Guildford — which conducted a disciplinary case into the actions of Reverend Stephen Sizer — had been contradicted by evidence Rev Sizer provided.

Rev Sizer accepted in October that his online actions had offended the Jewish community and acknowledged he should have “taken more care” and “reflected on the choice of words more carefully”.

A spokesman for the diocese, in which Rev Sizer is a minister, this week said officials were happy with the accuracy of statements made by its representatives.

But Rev Howard, an ordained Anglican and son of the Jewish former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard, suggested the church had been at fault over its investigation into claims of antisemitism.

He said statements made by church representatives when Rev Sizer posted the links on Facebook in 2011 and 2012 did not tally with the vicar’s own testimony during this year’s disciplinary process.

In an email to Bishop of Guildford Rt Rev Christopher Hill, Rev Howard wrote: “If we cannot trust the word of a diocese with regard to a complaint concerning antisemitism, how can we trust its word on other matters, such as incidents of child abuse?

“Would you be content to let two contradictory statements coming from within your diocese about an apparent act of child abuse remain unreconciled?

“If not, why are you willing to allow that with regard to antisemitism? As a Jewish Anglican I feel the need to stand up for my people.”

A Guildford Diocese spokesman said the complaint against Rev Sizer had been settled in October.

He added: “With regard to Nick Howard’s specific remarks, having re-checked the sequence of events and email correspondence the diocese is happy with the accuracy of previous statements and has no further comment.”

Last updated: 10:45am, December 6 2013