Next steps in the Upper Midwest abuse investigation: statement from the diocesan council

Dear Upper Midwest Diocese,

We would like to update you on changes in diocesan leadership and steps to be taken to select leaders to serve in an acting capacity.

Our last letter described how the Bishop’s Council functions during Bishop Stewart’s temporary leave of absence. As we announced, the Anglican Church in North America has undertaken oversight of the current third-party investigation, the pastoral care and response to survivors, and the further review and investigation of our diocesan process thus far.

In accordance with our Canons, the Bishop’s Council will exercise ecclesiastical leadership and authority of our diocese (organizational leadership, vision, budgets, etc.), and will appoint a chairperson to lead it. Archbishop Foley will appoint an Acting bishop or bishops to serve the diocese and fulfill the bishop’s liturgical and ministry functions.

In order to create space for a thorough independent investigation to proceed, the Revs. Eirik Olsen, William Beasley, and Christian Ruch (all the seated Deans of the Bishop’s Council) have taken a voluntary leave of absence from the Bishop’s Council at this time. Chancellor Charlie Philbrick has also stepped aside and an acting Chancellor will soon be appointed. Molly Stawarz, a Council lay member, has resigned for personal reasons.

We are calling for the selection by the Deaneries of Upper Midwest of Acting Deans (customarily a priest) to serve on the Bishop’s Council for the duration of the investigation.  Each deanery should call and convene an online meeting via Zoom. Last night, the Minnesota/South Dakota Deanery met and chose the Rev. Paul Calvin to be its Acting Dean. Dean Steve Williamson has asked the Revs. Kyle Oesch (Greenhouse), Eric Snyder (Wisconsin) and himself (Chicago) to act as the host for the other deaneries and facilitate the meeting to select their Acting Deans. This selection should be completed by midnight on July 23, 2021.

The Minnesota/South Dakota Deanery is in process of selecting a member to fill Molly Stawarz’s vacancy on the Bishop’s Council.

Selection of the other Acting Deans and the Bishop’s Council member to fill the open seat will be announced when they have been chosen.

The Bishop’s Council
Diocese of the Upper Midwest

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