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Canadian Bishop is elected, then suspended

12 May 2023

An individual posted on social media an allegation of misconduct against Bishop Cliff

Diocese of Brandon

The Rt Revd William Cliff

The Rt Revd William Cliff

THE Rt Revd William Cliff, Bishop of Brandon, a diocese in the Anglican Church of Canada, has been suspended just three days after being elected Bishop of Ontario.

Bishop Cliff, who has been Bishop of Brandon since 2016, was the preferred candidate of the Ontario electoral synod, it was announced on 29 April. But on 2 May, the Anglican Journal reports, an email was circulated to the diocese by the present Bishop, the Rt Revd Michael Oulton, that Bishop Cliff had been inhibited from performing his duties after an allegation was made on social media.

Bishop Oulton wrote: “This allegation has been received by our Metropolitan Anne Germond and she has informed the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of its existence. The proper authorities have been informed.”

On Wednesday, of last week, the Most Revd Greg Kerr-Wilson, Archbishop of Rupert’s Land, explained to the Anglican Journal that “an individual in the Civil Province of Ontario posted on social media an allegation of misconduct against Bishop Cliff. The nature of the allegation is such that an investigation is required —which will be conducted in Ontario by the Eccl. Province there (as that is where the alleged misconduct took place). . .

“The inhibition does not imply, or presume guilt on Bishop Cliff’s part, but is enacted in keeping with our Church’s commitment to take all allegations seriously and to facilitate transparency in the investigation process,” Kerr-Wilson wrote. “I have issued that inhibition and it is effective immediately. The inhibition is equivalent to a suspension with pay — meaning that +William while remaining a bishop of the Church and continuing to be remunerated, is unable to exercise the ministry of his Office within the Anglican Church until notice otherwise.”

The Archbishop asked people to pray for the complainant, Bishop Cliff, the two dioceses, and those responsible for the investigation.

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