Provincial Response Team
Introduction—What is this page for?
This past spring, the Diocese of the Upper Midwest engaged a third-party investigative firm to review its handling, over the previous two years, of allegations of sexual abuse by a Lay Catechist in one of its congregations. On July 8, 2021, the bishop and the diocese requested that the Province undertake oversight of the care of the survivors and of the third-party investigation.
To that end, a Provincial Response Team was seated by the Executive Committee to take oversight of this process. Also at the request of the diocese, a team will be appointed to review the relevant diocesan leadership structures.
As more information came to light and additional allegations regarding abuse of power within the Diocese were made, the Bishop’s Council of the Diocese requested that the Province expand the scope of its work to include these matters on August 29, 2021. The Executive Committee accepted this request.
The Province takes this seriously and desires to “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7) and to “conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27). Accordingly, this webpage was created as a resource for those following this situation, to be a hub for updates, resources, and, when possible, answers. Check back regularly as this page will be updated throughout the process with new information as it is available.
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A LETTER FROM ABP. BEACH
Who is on the Provincial Response Team (PRT)?
Jeffrey A. Garrety
Jeff Garrety has been in the private practice of law in Memphis and Jackson, Tennessee for more than 43 years. For the last 23 years, he has been certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Certified Civil Trial Specialist and Certified Pre-Trial Specialist. Jeff has always been interested and involved in the fair administration of courts and served on the Tennessee Supreme Court Advisory Commission for the Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence for 17 years.
He has been a member of the Christian Legal Society since 1986. He attended Christian Mediation Training in 2017 and 2019. Jeff played an active role in the formation of All Saints Anglican Church in Jackson in early 2004. He served as a member of the first vestry at All Saints and was the first Rector’s Warden. He continues to serve as a Lay Eucharistic Minister and Lector.
Since 2008, Jeff has served as Chancellor for what became the International Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America. He has served as a member of the Anglican Church in North America Governance Task Force since 2010 and as a member of the ACNA Committee on Admissions and Protocol since its inception.
The Rev. Canon Alan Hawkins is the Chief Operating Officer of the Anglican Church in North America. He has served as the Rector of Church of the Redeemer in Greensboro, NC. Bishop-elect Hawkins will serve as Bishop Coadjutor in the Diocese of Christ Our Hope following his consecration in the fall of 2021. Alan has served the Province as a staff member for 9 years and has helped to interface with the Child Safety Task Force which recently produced the recommended ACNA Child Safety Sample Policy. Since the Province was requested to take oversight of the third-party investigation into the Diocese of the Upper Midwest’s handling of the abuse allegations against Mark Rivera, Bishop-elect Hawkins has served as the point person, building relationships with the survivors as well as working the Provincial systems.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Eric Vawter Menees is Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. Bishop Menees serves on several provincial ministries in the Anglican Church in North America including the Ecumenical Committee, Caminemos Juntos, Anglican Immigration Ministries, and the Religious Life Task Force. Bishop Menees is President of Forward in Faith North America and serves on the Board of the American Anglican Council. Bishop Menees has experience overseeing misconduct cases both inside and outside his diocese.
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 watched previous misconduct cases carefully and has participated in the relevant communications matters that have arisen from these cases. Rachel is a member and leader at Christ Our King Anglican Church in New Braunfels, Texas in the Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast.
Albert Thompson is a historian and scholar in the Washington, DC area currently completing his doctorate in history from Howard University. He has served as a vestryman and is currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Anglican Church in North America and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic where he has participated in the church disciplinary process. He previously served on the 2020 Working Group on Race, Racism, and Racial Reconciliation.
How was the PRT selected?
At the direction of the Archbishop, Provincial representatives provided names to the Executive Committee who appointed the final team with due consideration of their experience and qualifications.
Survivors known to the Province were engaged in this process. The Team includes experienced and qualified women and men.
What is the role of the PRT?
As the PRT takes up oversight of this process, its work will include reviewing the current contract between the Diocese of the Upper Midwest and Grand River Solutions and making a final decision on the investigative firm. The PRT will also ensure that the survivors are offered appropriate care.
The PRT is not itself the investigative team or the team providing care to survivors.
What is the scope of the PRT?
The PRT is a temporary team formed to address the specific need for oversight of the third-party investigation into the handling of sexual abuse claims against Mark Rivera, a Lay Catechist in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, and care of the survivors. It does not have canonical authority in any other matters within the diocese, nor does it have such authority to intervene within any other diocese in the Anglican Church in North America.
As more information has come to light and additional allegations regarding abuse of power within the Diocese have been made, the Bishop’s Council of the Diocese has requested that the Province expand the scope of its work to include these matters. The Executive Committee has accepted this request.
Is Grand River Solutions (GRS) still conducting the investigation?
The role of GRS, if any, will be determined by the PRT.
How long will the investigation take?
We don’t know.
I have a question or concern about this process. How can I contact the PRT?
Please email ProvResponseTeam@anglicanchurch.net.