07 Aug An Important Matter Affecting Our Upper Midwest Community
Trigger Warning: The content below may be painful for anybody who has suffered from sexual abuse.
Dear Upper Midwest Family,
Our leadership has become aware of information involving credible allegations of serious sexual misconduct and abuse of a female adult from former Greenhouse Movement staff member Joel Girard during his time serving on the Cornerstone Anglican Church staff. We understand that on 7/28/21 a police report was filed regarding this matter. Joel served as a mission staff member with Cornerstone UIC from 2017 until 2019 and he remained a member at Cornerstone West Loop until early this year. Previously he served as on campus mission staff with Greenhouse from 2015 to 2017 at College of Dupage. He also served at Iglesia de la Resurrección in 2015-2017. Joel attended Church of the Resurrection off and on from 2015 to 2019.
You have received minimal communication from the diocese regarding the ACNA’s ongoing investigation into the allegations against Mark Rivera which has made it understandably difficult for many of you.
We hold high the value of protecting every survivor we encounter and to this end, we are sharing this information with you at the request of the survivor involved. At her own invitation, we are working closely with the survivor who made these allegations unrelated to the investigation into those at Big Rock. At this time, she has requested that we disclose nothing further regarding her allegations than the information contained in this letter. We are treating her allegations with full credibility and are collaborating with her to support her in any way we can.
We are heartbroken by her report. We are committed to doing all we can to prevent future situations like this from occurring. Our diocese is working hard to more thoroughly equip church leaders, staff members, and congregants to prevent, recognize, and stop abuse, both within our walls and our extended communities. We are dedicated to empowering and resourcing anyone who may be a survivor of abuse; below are contacts, both within and outside of the diocese, to whom survivors can reach out.
If you have any information regarding this situation or another account of abuse, we urge you to reach out to any of the following groups that you feel most safe to speak with:
Survivor Advocacy Groups
- The YWCA Chicago’s Rape Crisis Hotline at 1.888.293.2080 provides survivors of sexual violence and their significant others immediate support, crisis intervention, and referrals for the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.865.HOPE.
- 1in6 serves men who have been sexually abused as children or adults, offering a help hotline, resources and support programs.
Local church offices can connect you with referral to experts in your area that offer counseling. Your church may also be able to provide financial assistance to help with fees. Alternatively, you can reach out to Alison Matta at email@example.com, diocesan assistant, to help you begin the process.
If you have been abused, or are aware of abuse, and would like to file a police report, contact your local police department.
Our prayers are with all who have suffered abuse, sexual or otherwise, and ask that you join with us in prayers for awareness and healing within our congregations.
Fr. Alex Cameron
The Bishop’s Council
Diocese of the Upper Midwest