Former Anglican bishop deposed over 'inappropriate relationships with women'

Todd Atkinson, former bishop of the Via Apostolica Missionary District of the Anglican Church in North America, gives remarks at Winter Conference 2017.(Photo: YouTube/The Anglican Mission in America)

(CP) A former bishop of the Anglican Church in North America has been removed from ministry after being found guilty in a church court of multiple charges, including "inappropriate relationships with women."

ACNA announced Monday that Todd Atkinson, formerly the bishop of the Via Apostolica Missionary District based in Alberta, Canada, was "removed from ordained ministry following the conclusion of his ecclesiastical trial."

The announcement came after ACNA's Court for the Trial of a Bishop found Atkinson guilty in April of four charges related to "conduct giving just cause for scandal or offense, including the abuse of ecclesiastical power."

These four charges included "Inappropriate Relationships with Women," "Interfering in Marriage and Family Relationships," "Inappropriate Interactions with Minor Females" and "Abuse of Ecclesiastical Power Through Patterns of Manipulation and Control."

ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach said in a statement that he is thankful for "those who courageously came forward."

"Working for justice often entails risk, and scores of people willingly took that risk when they participated in the investigation and judicial process. As a Church, we are indebted to you," stated Beach.

"Dear Church, please join me in praying for all involved. Pray that the victims and the congregational community will find restoration and healing. Pray that the guilty will choose true repentance. Pray that the lessons from these events will contribute to the building of safer churches and communities."

The Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest, where Atkinson served as acting assistant bishop, released a statement Monday in response to the decision.

"We want to remind you that in 2019, Todd and some of his leaders participated in several events and services in our diocese. He preached at the Cathedral and assisted in confirmations. Todd and some of his team members participated in Holy Week and Fully Alive at the Cathedral as guests," stated the diocese.

"At that time the Diocese was unaware of any inappropriate behavior or concerns regarding Todd. If you had any concerning interactions with Todd Atkinson, or, if you would like to talk with a pastor for any reason, we encourage you to seek pastors and caregivers within your congregation."

In November 2021, ACNA announced the launch of an investigation into allegations of misconduct against Atkins, including abuse of ecclesiastical power.

Atkinson was put on leave. Bishop Quigg Lawrence, bishop suffragan of the Anglican Diocese of Christ Our Hope, was appointed to work with Via Apostolica during the investigation.

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