Archbishop defends firing of Jacob Worley

Archbishop Privett explains why he fired “without cause” Jacob Worley

November 23, 2017

To the Beloved People of God in the Diocese of Caledonia:

You will no doubt know that I have made the difficult decision to terminate the position of the Rev. Jacob Worley. Generally, it is inappropriate to talk about individual personnel matters and the specifics of the termination, but because Mr. Worley’s termination has been made a subject of wide comment on social media, to my regret I think it necessary to make an exception in this case.  Firstly, let me assure you that Mr. Worley’s termination was not based on any particular theological point of view. Our church and this Diocese will always welcome clergy and parishioners from a wide range of faith perspectives and theological views that fall within the breadth of our Anglican tradition. Our unity always rests in our love for Christ and Christ’s love for us.

Mr. Worley’s position was terminated “Without Cause” on November 20. This is a legal phrase which means that rather than a termination without pay, the Diocese is providing Mr. Worley with a severance payment which includes paid leave, accommodation and an additional money payment which will provide a severance package equivalent to remuneration through February 28, 2018. His total severance package will be the equivalent of stipend, benefits, pension contribution, car allowance and housing allowance. The severance package is subject to withholding for all applicable taxes.  I want you to know that the severance package that the Diocese is voluntarily providing is beyond the minimum required by law. This severance package leaves Jacob free to apply for other positions in the future. It is now my understanding that there is no immediate need for the Worleys to leave Canada. I anticipate this severance package will assist with the Worley’s transition.

It is with great sadness that I also write to inform you that I have received a letter from your retired Bishop Bill Anderson relinquishing the exercise of his ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada. This means that he will no longer function as a bishop in our church. After many years of faithful service, Bill has left The Anglican Church of Canada. With many of you, I feel a great loss, but respect his decision.  Bishop Bill has indicated that he will hold a service for ANiC (The Anglican Network in Canada) in the coming weeks. ANiC was established in recent years after significant theological disagreements between members of the Anglican Church of Canada. Some felt they could no longer walk together and left our church. Although ANiC uses the name Anglican, it is not a church with which we are in communion nor is it part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. Nevertheless, we seek to have positive ecumenical relationships with them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

In accordance with Canon 1 of the Diocese of Caledonia, I have Episcopal jurisdiction and oversight until such time as a Bishop for the See is chosen and consecrated, and possess all the powers of the Diocesan Bishop. In that capacity I have worked alongside your Executive and the official Diocesan leadership to guide the life of the diocese during this past year. We have faced some difficult decisions and gathered for two Electoral Synods. I am grateful for the financial assistance of the Ecclesiastical Province and the General Synod in helping support the Diocese.  In all things I have been aware of your care and respect for one another and the desire to bring honour and glory to God.

It has been my unique privilege to get to know many of you and to experience something of your life in this Diocese.  I give thanks for your faith and your faithfulness and pray that you will continue your witness to the love of Christ in all that you do. You have a promising future with a strong history, gifted lay and clergy leadership, a rich variety of cultures and a shared commitment to the Gospel.  I look forward to welcoming your new Bishop-elect David Lehmann in a service of consecration which will be held on the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter, January 18, 2018 at 1:30 pm in the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew in Prince Rupert. All are invited to attend.


Archbishop John Privett

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