Provincial Investigative Team Concerning Bishop Todd Atkinson
Allegations of misconduct, including the abuse of ecclesiastical power, have been made against Bishop Todd Atkinson of the Via Apostolica Missionary District, based in Alberta, Canada. Bishop Atkinson is on a leave of absence and Bishop Quigg Lawrence, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Christ Our Hope, has been appointed to work with Via Apostolica during this season. A Provincial Investigative Team has been formed to look into these matters, and is beginning its work. You can learn more about the members of that team below.
We are inviting individuals with relevant information to confidentially reach out to the Provincial Investigative Team at firstname.lastname@example.org about how to participate in the investigation.
Below are answers to some questions that the Province has frequently received.
What can I expect if I reach out to the Provincial Investigative Team?
When you first reach out to the Investigative Team, you should immediately receive an auto-response message alerting you that your email has been received. Only members of the Team have access to the email inbox which will be monitored on a daily basis. Depending on the number of contacts made, it may take several days for a response, but the Team will be working diligently to respond to each person in a timely manner.
Your initial contact may include as many or as few details as you feel comfortable; however it does help us if you provide the nature of your experience and your relationship to Bishop Atkinson and/or Via Apostolica. Our Team will then explain the process, informing you of the different options for participating in the investigation.
If I make a disclosure to the Provincial Investigative Team, with whom will my information be shared?
Disclosures made to the Provincial Investigative Team are held in confidence. Those disclosures will remain solely within the Provincial Investigative Team to the greatest extent allowable by the law until and unless permission to share that information has been given by the person making the disclosure.
I’m not sure if my experience is within the scope of this investigation, what should I do?
If you reach out to the Provincial Investigative Team, a member of the team will help you determine if your experience falls inside the scope of this investigation. If your experience is not related to Bishop Atkinson or Via Apostolica, we encourage you to contact your local congregation or diocese.
Is Via Apostolica running this investigation?
No, the Province of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is in charge of this investigation. None of the members of the Investigative Team are members of Via Apostolica.
Why is the Province handling this investigation?
Given the nature of the allegations in the Missionary District, it is appropriate for the Province to oversee this investigation.
What is the role of this Provincial Investigative Team?
This Provincial team, independent of Via Apostolica, has been tasked with carrying out an impartial investigation into allegations against Bishop Todd Atkinson.
Is this the same team that is looking into allegations of misconduct in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest?
No, a different team is handling allegations within the Diocese of the Upper Midwest. You can find more information on that situation here.
Is a leave of absence an admission of guilt?
No, a leave of absence provides space for a proper investigation to be conducted.
Does Via Apostolica have episcopal oversight during this time?
Yes. Bishop Quigg Lawrence, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Christ Our Hope, has been appointed to work with Via Apostolica during this season and has been meeting regularly with the clergy of the Missionary District.
What is the mandate of the Provincial Investigative Team?
The responsibility of the Provincial Investigative Team – Via (PIT – Via) is to carefully listen, investigate, and make recommendations to the Archbishop regarding allegations against Bishop Atkinson. Based on what is found, the PIT – Via may make one or more of the following recommendations:
- Find there is exonerating information or there is insufficient information to proceed.
- Recommend that the Archbishop consider giving what is called a Godly Admonition. A godly admonition may require a bishop to undergo counseling, training, or some other form of remediation.
- Recommend a process requiring work be done by the bishop and Bishop’s Council of Via Apostolica leading to a restored working relationship or to the dissolution of the relationship.
- Recommend that concerns go through the Title IV disciplinary process in the ACNA canons. This process may involve presentment, further investigation, and possible trial before an ecclesiastical (church) court. In this process, a bishop can make his case or choose to submit to discipline.
What is the nature of investigations and their timeline?
The length of investigations and subsequent processes vary significantly depending upon a number of factors. Based upon the level of complexity, investigations and disciplinary processes may last weeks, months, or even years. The level of complexity is rarely known at the outset of an investigation.
We recognize that the inherent uncertainty of these processes produces understandable anxiety. The investigative team for this case has been meeting regularly, interviewing involved parties, reviewing supporting documentation, and proceeding deliberately with fairness and impartiality. This part of the process is still ongoing. It is the goal of PIT – Via to make to the Archbishop as soon as possible one or more of the recommendations described above, potentially leading to further steps as appropriate.
This recommendation may not be the conclusion of the process, nor will it necessarily signal the conclusion of the investigation, but we are anticipating that we will soon have enough information to recommend potential next steps.
Mrs. Erin Folk
Erin is the owner of Folk Consulting Inc. which she started in 2018. Her focus is on workplace investigations, workplace harassment and prevention, sexual harassment, workplace misconduct and workplace violence investigation. Prior to opening her firm, Erin served with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for 20 years during which time she first became a workplace responsibility/harassment investigator. In 2013 Erin was invited to become a coach and trainer to educate others in the harassment investigation process and became a resource for employees for advice and guidance. Her knowledge, experience, and ability to manage difficult situations with quality results has been sought out by the RCMP National Office for the Coordination of Harassment Complaints in Ottawa, where they utilize her abilities to train and mentor investigators across Canada. She has extensive experience interviewing parties in a variety of situations, including those who have experienced trauma, and the premise that everyone deserves to feel safe and respected is very central to how she conducts her investigations. Erin is a member of the Roman Catholic Church and serves as the Chair of her local Parish Counsel.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. David Hicks
David L. Hicks graduated from Valley Forge University (BS, 1984), Westminster Theological Seminary (MAR, 1986), and Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia (STM, 1999). In 2016, he earned a PhD at Westminster Theological Seminary.
David was ordained a deacon in 1990 and a priest in 1992 in the Reformed Episcopal Church. In 1995 he accepted the call to serve as rector of St. Paul’s Reformed Episcopal Church, Oreland, Pennsylvania. The following year, he also began lecturing at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania and was later named professor of New Testament. In 2005, he was elected and consecrated bishop of the Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. He also continued to function at the seminary in administrative and academic capacities.
Desiring to return to parish ministry, Bishop David accepted a call to serve as rector of Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Butler, Pennsylvania in August 2019. He also presently serves on the Butler County Children and Youth Advisory Board and on the board of the Butler Symphony Orchestra.
David and his wife, Lisa, reside in Butler, Pennsylvania and have three grown children.
Dr. Joan Deeks
Joan Deeks has over 35 years of corporate management experience. In 2000, she launched the Advantis Consulting Group, which provides leadership training and executive coaching across Canada. During this time, Joan pursued her studies and completed her doctorate on the integration of religion and society. Recently, she joined Trinity Western University, School of Business as a professor and teaches in areas of human resources and organizational design.
Joan is actively involved at Church of the Ascension, Langley, British Columbia in prayer and hospitality ministry. Over the past several years, she has also worked with a core group of teachers writing Children’s Christian curriculum which is used by many churches throughout the world. She has served as a member of the Diocesan Council for the Anglican Network in Canada (ANIC), and she is the Coordinator of Strategic Planning for the diocese. Joan serves on the Executive Committee for the Anglican Church in North America.
The Rev. Dr. Chad Graham, Esq.
Chad is a lawyer at Richards and Company in Calgary, Canada, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Anglican Legal Society. Chad attended law school after spending ten years as an evangelical minister. During law school, he began to assist at Christ the King Anglican Church in Edmonton, Alberta where he now serves as a non-stipendiary associate on the pastoral team. Christ the King is a member parish of the Anglican Network in Canada. Chad has a DMin from Southern Seminary where he wrote on ethics-based leadership training. He is currently a member of the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association, the Christian Legal Fellowship, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the national board for Christianity Explored Ministries Canada.
The Rev. Canon Andrew Gross
Andrew Gross is the Director of Communications for the Anglican Church in North America but has served Archbishop Duncan and Archbishop Beach in several different capacities over the last eight years. Andrew has served on several previous investigative teams for the Province and filled the role of Gafcon Press Officer for seven years. Andrew graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Calvin University and a Masters of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. He taught Systematic Theology at the Deacon’s School in the Diocese of Western Michigan and, before serving in the Provincial Office, was rector of an Anglican church in South Haven, Michigan for ten years. He is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, served on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of the Holy Spirit (a diocese under Uganda that eventually blended into the ACNA), and has been a delegate to the Global South Anglican Fellowship.
He and his wife, Summer, have three kids, and live just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
Ms. Rachel Thebeau, Esq.
Rachel Thebeau is the Deputy Communications Director for the Anglican Church in North America. She is a licensed attorney in Texas, though currently non-practicing, who is passionate about Biblical justice and previously worked for International Justice Mission. Prior to joining the Provincial staff, Rachel served in the Philippines, working alongside police investigators, prosecutors, and aftercare workers to rescue and care for victims of traditional sex trafficking and the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) and prosecute perpetrators. In this capacity, she worked directly with victims in a variety of ways. She participated in trauma-informed care presentations, advocated for victims with social workers, and supported law enforcement and prosecutors in pre-operation, operation, and post-operation/prosecutorial work.
Rachel is a lifelong Anglican who appreciates Anglican polity and order. She completed the Intro to Canon Law course at Trinity School for Ministry and has a working knowledge of the Anglican Church in North America’s Constitution and Canons. In her work with the Province, she has assisted in previous misconduct investigations. Rachel is a member and leader at Christ Our King Anglican Church in New Braunfels, Texas in the Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast.