Board of Inquiry Finds Cause

Background and Timeline

In November of 2019, as the Archbishop’s Office looked into information that had been brought forward, The Rt. Rev. Ronald Jackson, then Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes, went on administrative leave to ensure the integrity of an investigation and allow for due canonical process.

In January of 2020 Bishop Jackson resigned his role as the diocesan bishop due to health reasons, while the provincial process continued.  Following the canonical process outlined in Title IV, Articles of Presentment were filed, and the Board of Inquiry has now finished its work.

Board of Inquiry’s Findings

According to canon, “If in the judgment of two-thirds of the Board of Inquiry there is probable cause to present the accused Bishop for trial for violation of Canon 2 of this Title, it shall make a public declaration to that effect (Canon IV.4(6)).”

The Board of Inquiry did not find evidence that any criminal or civil laws had been broken.
However, the Board of Inquiry has unanimously determined that there is probable cause for the accused to be brought to ecclesiastical trial regarding:

1. Sexual Immorality (Canon IV.2(6)).
2. Conduct giving just cause for scandal or offense (Canon IV.2(4)).
3. Willful refusal to follow a lawful Godly Admonition (Canon IV.2(12)). 
4.  Violation of ordination and consecration vows of true and canonical obedience to the Archbishop (Canon IV.2(3)).

Canonical Process

When a Board of Inquiry has determined probable cause to proceed to trial a bishop may:

1. Voluntarily submit to the discipline of the Church on all accusations in the Presentment;
2.  Voluntarily submit to the discipline of the Church on some accusations and proceed to trial on the others; or
3. Proceed to trial on all of the accusations in the Presentment

What Happens Next?

Bishop Jackson has been informed of the Board of Inquiry’s decision. If the matter should proceed to trial, the Court for the Trial of a Bishop will be called together.  Its membership consists of the three bishops, two presbyters, and two lay persons which have been elected by the Provincial Council. 

The canons afford an accused bishop the protections of due process, a trial, and the opportunity to appeal any decision. If a bishop voluntarily submits to discipline or is found guilty by the ecclesiastical court, the sentencing is carried out by the College of Bishops in accordance with Title IV.8(3).

Archbishop Beach asks for prayer for all involved in this procedure including Bishop Jackson and his family.

Provincial Council 2020 Moves Online

In the past, Provincial Council has been livestreamed for observers who wanted to tune in remotely, but this will be the first time diocesan delegates will join the meeting and vote online.

Provincial Council was originally scheduled to take place at The Cove, just outside of Asheville, North Carolina.  The Cove will instead host the 2021 gathering of the council. 

Delegates will receive more detailed information in early June.  The whole church has already been invited to provide feedback on the canonical changes that are being proposed

The meetings of the Executive Committee and College of Bishops which were to precede and follow will also move to a virtual format.

Kigali 2020 Postponed

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33

Sober greetings in Lent!

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, we are seeing international travel being drastically reduced and severe restrictions being placed on people gathering, especially in large numbers.

In the light of these developments, the Gafcon Primates Council has reviewed plans for our Bishops Conference in Kigali 2020 and with much regret have decided to postpone the conference until such time as it becomes possible to reconvene.

We also have in mind the need to act responsibly and not risk adding to infections in our host nation, Rwanda, nor risk delegates to the conference becoming infected and spreading the disease in their home countries.

We realise this news will be deeply disappointing, but as a globally connected movement, our life together will continue as we encourage and pray for one another through the daily prayer diary and our many other online resources.

Around the world churches are mobilizing and adapting to continue being the church as we make our way trusting God through this crisis. We have provided two pages on the Gafcon webpage that we hope will help provide ideas, tips and encouragement in ways ministry is going forward from different regions of the world. One page will focus on technology tips and ideas as many churches are moving to mediums such as livestreaming. The other page focuses on sharing ideas and ministry that churches are acting on as they continue to faithfully proclaim Christ in word and deed.

In addition, Archbishop Foley and I have issued a call to prayer and fasting for this Sunday, 22 March, interceding against the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, swarming locusts in East Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and famine and hunger in regions of Africa. Please join us. 

So let us be confident that God’s purposes will not be thwarted and let us dedicate ourselves afresh to the great task of proclaiming Christ faithfully which lies at the heart of the Gafcon vision. More than ever, our world in its fear and vulnerability needs to know the comfort of God’s mercy and the promise of eternal life to all who repent and believe. Out of all this, God has not lost his plan nor abandoned his work. God continues to work his purposes out, until the Word of the Lord covers the earth as the waters covers the sea!

We will proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations!!!

The Lord be with you.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi
General Secretary, Gafcon