As leaders of our church, it has been on our hearts to speak to you about the challenges we continue to walk through regarding the Province’s ongoing investigation of our Diocese, how we have been affected as a church, and how to chart a path forward.
This has been a long and hard season for our church. As we enter Lent, we find ourselves crying out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord?” For so many of us, waiting for this all to conclude has been excruciating, though that pain may have been felt in different ways.
Some of you are struggling with the ability to trust before you hear all the facts of what happened in the response to, and care for, victims of abuse. Perhaps you feel stuck in a place of wanting to give trust but unable to do so while questions remain unanswered. We know that many of you who have been personally affected by abuse are feeling this most acutely. This season has had a unique pain and grief for you. We grieve and pray with you!
Many of you have experienced frustration at the length of time this process is taking, and you have been grieving the loss of Bishop Stewart and Mama Katherine in this season. We too have felt that grief.
So many of us have felt sorrow during the pain and losses of these last eight months. The waiting has had unique challenges for us in leadership. We feel the agony of being unable to speak openly about our experience while the investigation continues. This has, at times, created dissonance and friction that we, as a whole church, cannot process yet.
And as long as it has already been, the waiting is not over yet.
We feel that this is a critical moment to provide clarity where we can, chiefly by reminding us all of things that may have been forgotten or become confused through this ordeal.
First, let’s remember the scope and status of this process. After several months of work, the Province’s investigation is now actively moving forward. This is a significant step, and we hope this means we will know more information soon. In the meantime, you can find updates on the diocesan hubpage.
We would like to repeat our clear stance of a zero tolerance for abuse, and we remain committed to walk beside any survivor of abuse. We encourage any survivors of abuse to participate in the investigation here.
As leaders at Resurrection we do not have control over the investigation, including the process itself or any action steps after its conclusion. Please pray for the Provincial leaders overseeing the process and determining next steps. They need our prayers now more than ever. Because we are not directly involved, we have no information or influence in regards to when this process will conclude.
It feels incredibly vulnerable to have so much that is out of our control. But we are never alone. “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them” (Ps. 145:18-19). Like Jesus, we may, with complete confidence, entrust ourselves and all for whom we are concerned to him who judges with perfect justice. It is he who has power, dominion, and authority over all – including over this investigation and its outcome.
Second, and of great importance, we want to clarify a few things about Bishop Stewart and his leave of absence that may have become obscured in the course of time. Bishop Stewart took a voluntary leave of absence for two reasons: (1) to assure transparency in the process and (2) to give space for the investigation to get under way. The leave of absence is not punitive, nor is it an admission of guilt. He remains a minister of the Gospel in good standing. He is still our bishop. This was true at the beginning of the leave and remains so today. The three of us have all served with Bishop Stewart for many years. We know and trust him as a godly leader and shepherd who has sought to serve his flock with humility and integrity. We want to clarify, as leaders, that Stewart continues to have our full support.
We ask you to continue to lift up Bishop Stewart, Katherine, and their children in what has been a very difficult time for them. If you would like to send them a personal and encouraging note, card, or email:
Send Mail: Upper Midwest Diocese
Attn. Stewart Ruch
935 W. Union Ave
Wheaton, IL 60187
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: For Bp. Stewart/Ruchs
Finally, we want to lay out a vision for the path forward. We continue to believe that the way forward for our leadership is the way of truth and humility. We desire the full truth to come to light. We are willing and eager to receive every correction and lesson the Lord has for us through this process. This has been a time of humbling refinement. And while it has not been easy, we are grateful for how we have grown as a result of it. Policy updates, training for leaders and laity alike, and improvements to pastoral care systems and culture (see this letter) have all been a primary focus of the last eight months and will continue to shape our ministry.
Our prayer is that Resurrection will ever increase in her ability to love and care for the suffering, the vulnerable and weak, the injured and broken, proclaiming good news to the poor, and ministering the healing power of Jesus to all who thirst for it. In order to serve the people of Resurrection, all the leaders of this church are ready to listen and learn from you. If you have something you need to say, please reach out to us so that you can be heard.
We also believe that the way forward for all of us is the way of faith. It can be hard to walk in faith through seasons like this. If we seek the wisdom of the world, this season will leave us broken. But if we seek the wisdom from above, which is “pure, then peaceable, open to reason, full of mercy, good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3), we can get through this! And with humility and looking to the Lord, not only can we get through this, but we can get through this together, “maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).
We wish we could tell you the time of waiting is over. We cannot. So, while we must still continue to wait, we wait in faith. And we will continue to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, [and] be constant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).
To that end, please note the prayer points below for our church, our Diocese, and everyone involved in this process. We invite you to join us in fervent intercession in the days ahead. Let us pray that all who have sown in tears will reap with shouts of joy (Ps. 126). Let us pray that Jesus’ bride, his Church, will reflect his glory more clearly after we have come through this refining fire.
With Love for All of You,
Steve+, Brett+, and Matt+
Fr. Steve Williamson, Dean
Fr. Brett Crull, Vicar
Fr. Matt Woodley, Vicar
Pray for the ongoing investigation – that the truth may come to light, that the process would proceed speedily, and that all provincial leaders involved would be given strength, wisdom, and grace.
Pray for every victim of abuse. Pray for healing, justice, mercy, and grace to be extended to each and every one.
Pray for Bishop Stewart, Mama Katherine, and their children. Pray for the Lord’s mercy, peace, comfort, and healing for each of them in this difficult season.
Pray for Church of the Resurrection. Pray that we would humbly continue to grow and learn how to love and serve the suffering and most vulnerable among us.
Pray for all the churches in our Diocese – that they would continue to minister the good news of the Gospel of Jesus to their people and communities during this difficult season.
Pray for all the leaders in our Diocese to receive any correction the Lord has for us, to repent of any wrongdoing or mistakes we have made, and to grow in our ability to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and broken world.
Pray for the healing of strained or broken relationships as a result of this difficult season.
Pray for the name of Jesus to be glorified and for his Church to be refined in this season to more clearly reflect his glory!
If you have concerns you would like to share, email our Pastoral Care Pastor at email@example.com to set up a pastoral appointment. Reach out to non-staff members of our Vestry (church board) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn More & Stay Up-to-Date
-Find resources for identifying, preventing, and responding to abuse here.
-Learn how to participate in the investigation here.
-Find Diocesan news & updates on the Province’s investigation here.
-Find Rez updates, practices, and policies here.
-Get the latest news and regular updates from the Diocese in your inbox; subscribe here.
-Get investigation news from Rez in your inbox; subscribe here.