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Allegations of mishandling of misconduct in ACNA spread

Allegations of mishandling of misconduct in ACNA spread

By February 2020 at least 10 women alleged clergy misconduct at All Souls Wheaton, a church in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Anglican Church in North America. The diocese is a breakaway from The Episcopal Church.

Two of those women (Angela and Laura) issued a statement Saturday detailing the mishandling of the case by Bishop Jim Hobby who resigned in November 2020 over the mishandling of a different misconduct case. In their statement, Angela and Laura also charge that interim Bishop Martyn Minns has distorted facts surrounding the case and its handling.

As founding bishop of CANA, Minns was a key player in the schism which led to the creation of ACNA. So was Robert Duncan, former bishop of Pittsburgh (TEC and ACNA) and founding primate of ACNA.

The statement by Angela and Laura is also in tweet thread form at @ACNAtoo part of which is posted below. The entire thread is unrolled here or can be read on Twitter by clicking any of the @ACNAtoo tweets below. The thread begins,

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Richard Grand

While I support Nd agree with much of what Helen Kromm says, the constant reference to “white males” or “elderly white males” is problematic. it’s as if all single elderly white males are identical, and as if all are wrong. Does being a white male disqualify a person from participation in discussions? I found the term “white,” especially concerning. Being of any specific race does not define a person’s ability to discern. However, I would not agree with Mr. Cornell that Jesus was white. The misunderstandings and misstatements by bth correspondents detract from the seriousness of the actual issue. I would only venture to say that organizations whose founding principles are conservative in nature should not surprise us when they revert to the “traditional” ways churches have used clericalism, sexism, and patriarchy to prevent so-called “scandals.” I was particularly struck by the number of times the Bishop or a Council had the right to assess the “credibility” of accusations. This assumes that the “accuser” is the problem from the start, and is terribly patronizing and demanding.

Bruce Cornely

Jesus was Jewish. I was generalizing (shame on me, elderly old white guy). In most surveys, etc., Jews are lumps in with “white” initially and then come the sub-categories.

found this on the web: Jesus’ Ethnicity. There is little doubt that since Jesus was born a Jew He had to have the attributes of other Jews and there is no recorded historical accounts of black Jews in His time, however there were black Jews who had converted to Judaism but that is no reason to believe that Jesus was black.

Bruce Cornely

First off, I did not read the entire article, but from the first few paragraphs it seems typical of other such complaints.
My first point is that initial complaints should be made in a short time period of a few minutes to a month (at most). The longer it lingers the more time there is for memories to cloud or facts to be “adjusted” by either party. My first reaction would be to grab my cell phone and punch in 911. Make a big stink immediately.
Second (and possibly most important) is to make these accusations legally and not to the institution involved, especially if it is a religious organization. Experience should have alerted those involved to the level and speed of cover-up and distortion of events.
Third… Since sexual harassment is such a gray area (he said/she said) it is important to anticipate the possibility and either avoid possible situations or end the situation as soon as there is a hint of impropriety.
And, since these are COVID times, I also suggest wearing a mask and maintaining ten-foot social (or unsocial) distancing. And keep your cell phone open and in your hand. Don’t let anyone touch you… NO HUGS or handshaking.
I do admit to have been reprimanded at a Sexual Harassment workshop when the leader (a female priest) ask about hugging at The Peace during worship. I immediately called out that I did not allow hugging until after a nice dinner! I was kidding, of course, but I DON’T HUG!
I must also admit that I am truly and greatly ashamed of the behavior of much of out clergy. I’m fortunate to have grown up (I’m 72) when clergy behaved in a respectable Christian way, at least while on duty. I was absolutely shocked when a priest swore at me in 1978. It was down hill from there.

Helen Kromm

It’s hard to know where to begin when responding to your post. A post so full of harmful misinformation and feckless, clueless assumptions invites a broad response- so it begs the question where to begin?

“First off, I did not read the entire article” Truly, that quote says it all. And I have to wonder, when you haven’t taken the time to read the entire article, and when it is so abundantly clear that you don’t have a clue what you are talking about, what value do you bring to this discussion? Is it because you are a white, older male who is entrenched in the patriarchy that you feel your voice brings value to this discussion, even though clearly you don’t know what you are talking about? Yes, we can all go home now and close this particular discussion, because an elderly white male who in reality knows zilch about this topic has weighed in. Dear God help us… For sure I, and certainly legions of others, have eagerly been waiting for you to come along and mansplain this to us.

All of this wouldn’t be so bad if your voice and your beliefs were simply neutral, but your fecklessness actually brings harm and damage. Oh God, how much better off we would be if you would simply shut the hell up when you don’t know what you are talking about.

“My first reaction would be to grab my cell phone and punch in 911.”

Nobody cares what your hypothetical first reaction would be. We are talking about vulnerable women and children being subjected to abuse by someone in a position of power above them. You are an elderly white male and wholly ill-equipped to pass judgement or render advice on what is and is not appropriate.
 
Sexual harassment is now rarely a “gray area”. And certainly nothing about this particular case falls even remotely into a gray area. To suggest this lends credence to the old canard that there are two sides to every story. In this case nothing could be further from reality.

“it is important to anticipate the possibility and either avoid possible situations or end the situation as soon as there is a hint of impropriety”

Yes, blame the victims! Because of course women and children should anticipate that this behavior is coming, and get out of the way of their predators. Predators who by the way are in positions of trust and power. Yes, anticipate this all you victims and act accordingly! Don’t let anyone touch you! 

“I also suggest wearing a mask and maintaining ten-foot social” Great idea! Maybe we can all wear burqas- you think that would work? It’s important we all cover up to protect ourselves from the regrettable but to be expected male urges some of our predators display! Let’s bring slut shaming back too- that would end this nonsense, wouldn’t it?

“My first point is that initial complaints should be made in a short time period”

There are any number of very legitimate reasons why they aren’t. But in this case, the subject has been under criminal investigation for what appears to be at least two years, and will shortly be tried. You would know that if you had read the article before pontificating. The issue here is how the church failed to protect victims knowing full well that the investigation was proceeding but before charges were brought.

Worse, this comment suggests that there is something untoward when victims may wait days, months, and even years. There isn’t, and there are legitimate reasons why victims are hesitant to immediately report either harassment or abuse. Some victims are hesitant to come forward because white males in positions of power think it’s a damned joke. Your comment while participating in a seminar is a great example of this.

Finally, I’d like to know more about why you feel this is “typical”? And what do you define as “typical”? This was in fact so “typical” to you that the whole article wasn’t worthy of a five minute read. And yet you felt compelled to venture forth and bequeath us with your vast expertise and experience related to this matter.

Last edited 1 month ago by Helen Kromm
Bruce Cornely

I question from whence your racism and bigotry cometh. My post was basically on the side of those who have experienced sexual harassment. It should not be tolerated especially from clergy. I did not read the entire post because the topic is one that does not need specifics for response. My stance is against not only sexual harassment but also covering up questionable behavior of any kind from church people.

<…it is so abundantly clear that you don’t have a clue what you are talking about, what value do you bring to this discussion>

If it is clear that I don’t have a clue, you might have helped by correcting my errors and providing more beneficial solutions to bring my knowledge up to your standards rather than simply attacking and belittling me.

I also wonder why you are so prejudiced against elderly white males. I am especially not entrenched in patriarchy, nor am I entrenched in the opposite side.
I would hope that reading my response would assure you that I am not “neutral.” However, from your response seems to be obvious that you have a huge chip in your shoulder and are hostile to anything offered by a “white male” and ever ready for a fight.

I also wonder what you are doing reading reports from a Christian publication when your language and attitude indicate that you adhere to a different way of life and communication. (“shut the hell up” indeed).

<Nobody cares what your hypothetical first reaction would be.>

I only shared what my first reaction would be to stop the harassment. Surely vulnerable women and children carry cell phones which would hopefully be useful in signaling a dangerous situation. Again, if you have a better suggestion, passing it along to me would have been beneficial.

< Sexual harassment is now rarely a “gray area”. And certainly nothing about this particular case falls even remotely into a gray area. To suggest this lends credence to the old canard that there are two sides to every story. In this case nothing could be further from reality.>
Most everything is made into a gray area when accusations are made. There are two sides to every story, but it is important to discern which is right.

I said, nor indicated, anything close to “blame the victims.” However, if you enjoy being touched as you indicated (Yes, anticipate this all you victims and act accordingly). If you allow someone to touch you it’s possible that some of the guilt is yours. It is obvious that others cannot read your mind, and all I suggested was “be prepared.”
Gee! You are hot under the collar and anxious to fight. There is a difference between a mask and a burqa. I was referring to COVID prevention masking. I don’t know if wearing a COVID prevention mask and maintaining social distance would work, I simply suggested it. I can share, however, that it has kept people from touching me, most notably in church at The Peace.

I know that the case in question has been under investigation for two years, which is why I suggested that to prevent this type of delay, that reporting should be done outside of the institution which likely has a reputation for cover-up. My point with “the issue” is that the church was not protecting the victims but rather the offenders.
I do question “legitimate reasons” for not reporting these incidents and realize that there are psychological as well as other reasons to wait. But I do think that waiting allows for the guilty to build “walls” and create alternate explanations. Here is yet another aspect in which your enlightenment might have been beneficfial.

Gee… and there you go again with your white male hatred. That is one of the greatest problems in our country. Not specific hatred directed at a particular group, but HATRED in general which is something that Jesus NEVER endorsed. (Oops… another “white male” who was likely never sexually harassed, His words now nullified.)

My comment on participating in a seminar is a great example of WHAT? (“this”)
I wrote that I feel covering situations and questionable behavior is TYPICAL of executives. I would think that this situation is a good example and that you would agree, although it is an opinion put forth by an “elderly white male” so agreeing is not likely an option.

One thing seems to be certain, and I say this without judgment but only as an observation.

YOU are definitely not a vulnerable women. Regardless of race (so don’t throw that in my face again)… YOU HAVE SERIOUS ANGER, GENDER AND RACIAL ISSUES packed in an incredible amount of baggage.

I truly feel sorrow for your situation and recommend you seriously and intensely read the Gospels.

I will keep you in my prayers. Christians do that!

Dianne Smith

Thank you, Helen Kromm!

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