Home Christian News Anglican Church of Canada Blunders Stoke Calls for General Secretary to Resign

Anglican Church of Canada Blunders Stoke Calls for General Secretary to Resign

In its statement, CoGS, as the council is commonly known, had recommended that the report be shared with the editorial board, and claimed the report said “absolutely nothing about the circumstances of the original complaints by the individuals.”

A member of CoGS told RNS that the council has not seen the report and had no knowledge of the appendix. The CoGS statement also said the primate offered to meet with survivors and share the full report with them, “with appropriate mutual assurances of privacy and confidentiality.”

ACCToo believes survivors should have access to the report independent of a meeting with the primate. In a March 16 email addressed to the primate, general secretary and members of CoGS, ACCToo co-founders Carolyn Mackie and Michael Buttrey asked for a copy of the report to share with survivors. As of Tuesday (March 29), they had not received a response.

Finn Keesmaat-Walsh, a member of CoGS from the Province of Ontario, dissented from the CoGS statement in a Facebook post on Thursday, saying it did not address ACCToo’s three requests.

“I’m not willing to give up hope that reconciliation can happen, and that with appropriate steps, this church can heal from this,” Keesmaat-Walsh told RNS. “But I don’t think that healing will be possible without the three goals that ACCToo put in their letter being met.”

On Monday, Townsend, who quit his job at the journal in June in protest of the handling of the controversy, called for further accountability in his own statement. He emphasized the need to share the investigator’s report with survivors and released his own resignation letter to further validate the facts in ACCToo’s open letter.

“My sense from the very start was that the church’s leadership didn’t really understand the gravity of the breach. For me as a journalist, this kind of confidentiality breach is the worst thing that could happen in your career, and the worst thing you could do to sources,” Townsend told RNS. “I continue to be concerned that the church isn’t quite taking this seriously, and that the approach is still not trauma-informed in any kind of way.”

ACCToo is also concerned about the appointment of Bishop William Cliff as chair of the ACC’s Communications and Information Resources Committee, which oversees the General Synod’s communication policy, according to the church website. Cliff is the bishop of Brandon, the diocese where Proctor has said she experienced sexual misconduct by a church leader. Cliff, according to Proctor and Townsend, is also one of the original recipients of the Anglican Journal article draft. Cliff did not respond to requests for comment.

“He needs to recuse himself,” Proctor told RNS. “No one even remotely tied to this situation should be in charge of the communications of the national church.”

For ACCToo and its supporters, the ACC’s response so far to the leak demonstrates a focus on institutional self-preservation over the needs of survivors.

“There is so much work that needs to be done in the church to respond to survivors of sexual violence,” said Mackie. “But this particular incident is symbolic of all of that. Until they can address this properly, and take accountability for what happened, we can’t trust that any other efforts to change systemic responses in the church will bear any fruit.”

This article originally appeared here