By Kirk Petersen

A former bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) has resigned from episcopal ministry after allegations, which he admits are “well founded,” that he “sent inappropriate sexualized electronic communications to an adult person” with whom he had a pastoral relationship. [Update: several days later, the Church announced that Bishop McKoen had “relinquished his orders,” and no longer can function as a bishop, priest, or deacon in the ACC.] 

Lincoln McKoen, who had been Bishop of the Territory of the People, a diocese in British Columbia formerly known as the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, was initially “inhibited” (essentially suspended) on June 1, just days after the grisly discovery of a mass grave of 215 Indigenous children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, which had been operated by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Territory of the People is headquartered at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, also in Kamloops, about three miles from the site of the former school. The back-to-back events rattled the city of 90,000 to an extent that Archbishop Lynne McNaughton, who is the Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon and McKoen’s former boss, felt the need to clarify to the diocese that the action against McKoen “is absolutely unrelated to the horrific discovery at the Kamloops Residential School this past week.”

In announcing McKoen’s resignation, McNaughton said the adult with whom McKoen had inappropriate correspondence “is resident outside the Ecclesiastical Province” of British Columbia and Yukon.

McKoen was elected bishop by the Territory in January 2020, after serving parishes in Labrador, Ontario and British Columbia. “His wife Tanya is also a priest,” the Anglican Journal reported at the time of his election.

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls, primate of the ACC, said in an announcement:  “Pastoral care is being offered to the diocese and all affected. An interim Steering Committee has been put in place. The diocese now enters a time of grieving and discernment about its future episcopal leadership. Please join them in prayer.”