Rev. Mark MacDonald, the Anglican Church of Canada’s first national Indigenous archbishop, has resigned over what the church is calling “acknowledged” sexual misconduct.
“This is devastating news. The sense of betrayal is deep and profound when leaders fail to live up to the standards we expect and the boundaries we set,” wrote Rev. Linda Nicholls, the church’s archbishop and primate, in an open letter published on Wednesday.
Nicholls cites a complainant against MacDonald in the letter but no further details about the allegations have been provided by the church.
“First and most importantly, our prayers must be for the complainant whose life has been affected by Mark’s actions. The betrayal of trust by someone in such a prominent role of leadership will require a long road of healing and our constant prayers,” the letter continues.
Assperson for the church declined an interview request from CBC News and said it would not speak provide any further comment about MacDonald’s resignation.
MacDonald, 68, was named the church’s first national Indigenous Anglican bishop in 2007, a post which makes him pastoral leader to approximately 225 Indigenous churches, most of them on reserves.
He was elevated to archbishop in 2019.
A biography on the church’s website said he served as a minister in Mississauga, Ont., Duluth, Minn., Tomah, Wis., Mauston, Wis., Portland, Ore., and the southeast regional mission of the Diocese of Navajoland during his career.
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MacDonald is a graduate of Wycliffe College, a Christian evangelical seminary at the University of Toronto.
A 2013 article posted by the Anglican Journal, the national newspaper of the Anglican Church of Canada, described MacDonald as a “non-status Indian” with Indigenous ancestry through both his mother and father. The article also says he “grew up among the [Ojibwe] people.”
The Anglican Church has named Bishop Sidney Black to serve as its interim national Indigenous bishop.