Our Response to CoGS Statement
(released March 18, 2022; footnote 1 added March 24)
There is much in the statement from the Council of General Synod (CoGS) to consider and respond to. At this time, we are focusing our attention on the statement’s response to our three action items.
Our open letter asked for public commitments to:
- Release the unredacted findings of the investigation to a representative chosen by the survivors; and
- Require the resignation of the ACC church official who circulated a draft of the Anglican Journal article to four institutions outside the General Synod office; and
- Submit an apology for publication in the Anglican Journal that summarizes the investigation report, confesses wrongdoing, and presents a plan of action that is a worthy beginning of repentance.
First, the CoGS statement indicates that for the survivors to see the report, they must meet with the Primate. We believe it is inappropriate to stipulate that survivors of sexual violence and ecclesial misconduct must meet with the leader of a church and provide assurances of confidentiality before they can receive factual information. We have therefore asked CoGS to ensure that the survivors have access to the report independent of such a meeting. We also note CoGS’ request that the Editorial Board be given access to the report, and have asked CoGS to ensure that the survivors are given first access so that any private information contained therein can be appropriately redacted.
Second, our request for the resignation of the individual who leaked the drafts has been ignored. The CoGS statement did not address accountability in any discernible form beyond a general expression of regret.
Third, we note the unconditional apology offered by CoGS. However, it remains unclear who precisely is apologizing, and for what. We still await a public apology that takes personal responsibility and confesses wrongdoing with specificity.
Fourth, we note the claim that “recollections of the specific details differ.” This echoes the Primate’s earlier allusion to “misrepresentations” in our open letter. Yet in the four weeks since our open letter was published, no one has told us what these misrepresentations might be or provided any evidence that contradicts the account given in our open letter.
Finally, the statement notes “the challenge faced by church leadership at all levels, given both the Gospel imperative to care for the powerless and victimized, and their covenanted responsibility to the institution.” We believe the church as an institution is not a proper end of Christian action, but a means to achieving the ends of the Gospel. The church lives by serving Jesus and others; the church dies by serving itself.
Carolyn & Michael
 see this paragraph from the statement: “5. CoGS is assured that the written report of the independent investigator deals entirely with journalistic matters, and says absolutely nothing about the circumstances of the original complaints by the individuals. There may be valid reasons for not making that report publicly available in its entirety. However, the Council notes the Primate’s offer to meet with the three individuals, along with a mutually agreeable facilitator, to share the full report, with appropriate mutual assurances of privacy and confidentiality. CoGS also recommends that the full report be discussed with the members of the Editorial Board, to assist them in making future improvements.”