Bishop’s Council Letter: Leadership of Upper Midwest

Dear Upper Midwest Diocese,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

In light of Bishop Stewart’s announcement of his leave of absence, we, the Bishop’s Council of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, want to provide clarity around how the diocese will function during this time. 

The Bishop’s Council has officially reached out to Archbishop Foley Beach with two requests, both of which he has approved: 

  1. That the Anglican Church in North America would undertake 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.
  2. That the Archbishop and his office provide guidance on the leadership of our diocese during Bishop Stewart’s leave of absence. 

During this time and in accordance with the 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 interim bishop or bishops to serve the diocese and fulfill the bishop’s liturgical and ministry functions. 

We would also like to make the diocese aware of the following important information:

  1. The Anglican Church in North America is forming a Provincial Response Team to oversee this situation. They will communicate more information about this to the diocese and province later and as the investigation proceeds. 
  2. Several survivors have already been engaged about the province’s involvement.
  3. A forthcoming Zoom call for clergy and senior lay leaders (vestry wardens, parish council leaders and lay congregational leaders) will explain Bishop Stewart’s leave of absence, the Bishop’s Council, the diocesan structure of authority, and how the diocese will function during this interim period. This call will not concern the case or its details. Information regarding this call will be sent to leaders soon.
  4. A forthcoming letter from the Archbishop will explain further details of provincial involvement.

We call on all our churches to be in regular prayer. Please pray for all survivors of abuse and the most vulnerable among us. Pray for Bishop Stewart and his family, and all our leaders, as well as the strengthening of our churches during this challenging season. 

The Bishop’s Council
Diocese of the Upper Midwest