TORONTO-The Anglican Church of Canada says an archbishop has resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Mark MacDonald, 68, was the first national Anglican bishop responsible for representing Indigenous church members when he was appointed in 2007.
MacDonald’s resignation is tied to an independent investigation and the accusations are not criminal, said Joe Vecsi, director of communications with the Anglican Church of Canada. Church leadership does not know who the complainant is, he added.
The church did not provide further details on the allegations.
The church is committed to workplaces free from violence, coercion, discrimination and sexual harassment, a news release added.
Rev. Linda Nicholls, who is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said in a letter posted to the church’s website that prayers should be directed to the complainant.
The church is also reviewing its sexual harassment policy to ensure it is effective and appropriate, the news release said.
MacDonald was appointed to the position as part of the church’s effort to heal a long-standing rift with Indigenous people.
“The ripple effects will be felt throughout the Church both in Canada and internationally, but most especially within the Sacred Circle and Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples,” Nicholls wrote.
Bishop Sidney Black, the Indigenous Bishop of Treaty 7 territory within the Diocese of Calgary, is to fill the roll in the interim, Nicholls said.
MacDonald is originally from Duluth, Minn., and also served as bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Diocese of Alaska. He is married with three children, the church’s website said. Information about MacDonald has since been removed.
At the time of MacDonald’s appointment, the church said it hoped he could help with the healing and reconciliation needed for the church’s role in residential schools.
An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend residential schools. About three dozen residential schools were run by the Anglican church. The church also ran a number of day schools for Indigenous children.
The Anglican Church of Canada first apologized to survivors in 1993. Another apology was issued last year after the discovery of possible unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools.
Through his tenure, MacDonald had been outspoken about Indigenous rights, identity and how the church must respond.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2022.
– By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg