Religious News Service has another story on the Church of the Resurrection, the headquarters church of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America. ACNA is a schismatic group started by former members of the Episcopal Church disaffected over issues of homosexuality and social justice. It is not affiliated with the Anglican Communion. A growth strategy of ACNA is to allow dioceses greater governance latitude — in religious terminology, it follows the principle of subsidiarity.
The bishop of the diocese, Stewart Ruch III, operates out of the Church of the Resurrection. He has taken a leave of absence while ACNA looks into his leadership of the diocese.
The Perrines [see Ms. Perrine’s tweet thread below] are two of 21 people who told Religion News Service in recent interviews that they were spiritually abused at Resurrection, which is the seat of ACNA’s Upper Midwest Diocese.
“The more you become involved in leadership, the more you’re encouraged to distrust anything outside of Rez’s orbit,” said former Rez parishioner Whitney Harrison. “There is a kind of blind submission to authority present at Rez that, in my understanding of the broader Anglican world, is not standard.”
According to Harrison, only those willing to submit to authority were invited into church leadership.
An anonymous former parishioner said, “I remember thinking, this is starting to feel a little bit more like a, I don’t want to say personality cult, but more of a rallying around a particular leader, in this case (Bishop) Stewart’s charisma.”
Former members also said church leaders pressured them to stay in abusive relationships, subjected them to conversion therapy and denied them leadership positions for voicing criticism. They describe a culture of censorship and controlling behavior, all packaged in overtly spiritual language.
As more information has come to light and additional allegations regarding abuse of power within the Diocese have been made, the Bishop’s Council of the Diocese has requested that the Province expand the scope of its work to include these matters. The Executive Committee has accepted this request.
A thread in support of #ACNAtoo
Why has public accountability via twitter and https://t.co/3mYOQwgYZh become necessary in the case of #ACNAtoo? Largely because there is no safe, survivor centred, whistle-blowing procedure available within the Upper Midwest Diocese.
— Jenna Jayne Perrine (@Weejenbug) July 14, 2021
Please also see thread for one story in much more detail. https://t.co/pQVSfz6ChL
— Joanna Laurel 🪴 (@ladyjessicahaze) September 3, 2021