Updated: Jun 9
Vancouver, British Columbia
Today an apology was made for what the Church didn't do twenty years ago. Inside the Vancouver Japanese Language School located in Vancouver's Downtown East Side the Right Reverend Gregory Kerr-Wilson, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary and the Right Reverend Melissa Skelton, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster offered words of apology to Japanese Canadians affected by Mr. Nakayama's abuse.
They disclosed that a letter was received by the Diocese of Calgary in 1994 in which Nakayama admits to "sexual bad behaviour." Instead of following up with this confession in a meaningful way Nakayama was given the option to resign his duties quietly. He accepts this offer in February 1995 and dies several months later.
Present today at the apology were members of the Japanese Canadian Working Group, who worked for 18 months with the Anglican Church on this apology. Member Lorene Oikawa chaired the session. Member Judy Hanazawa spoke on the background of the JCWG's activities that led to this apology, while Mary Kitagawa provided a response to the apology below.
Below is the full text of the 12-point apology.
1. Mr. Nakayama was a priest of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary. Some of his ministry was in the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, and he travelled widely in Canada and in other parts of the world.
2. After he had retired, Mr. Nakayama confessed in person and in a letter dated December 28th 1994 to the then Archbishop of Calgary that he had engaged in ‘sexual bad behavior . . . to so many people’.
3. Upon receipt of Mr. Nakayama’s confession, the then Archbishop of Calgary formally brought forward the very serious charge of Immorality against Mr. Nakayama on February 10, 1995.
4. Upon receiving this charge, Mr. Nakayama voluntarily resigned on February 13, 1995, from the exercise of priestly ministry.
5. It is not known how many young people were affected, and no complaints were received at that time.
6. We have been made aware of the impact and effect of these past actions by some of today’s survivors, whom we acknowledge and seek to support, along with those who have died, their families and friends.
7. We deeply regret that Mr. Nakayama while a priest committed these acts of immoral sexual behavior.
8. On behalf of our dioceses, we express our deep sorrow and grief for harm which Mr. Nakayama did, and we apologize to all whose lives have been affected by Mr. Nakayama’s actions.
9. We deeply regret this Apology was not delivered to the Japanese Canadian Community at the time of Mr. Nakayama’s confession, the charge of immorality, and his subsequent resignation from the exercise of priestly ministry.
10. We express our support to survivors, affected families, and community as a whole and deeply hope that this Apology encourages healing and wellness for all whose lives have been affected by Mr. Nakayama’s actions.
11. We commit to participation in a healing and reconciliation process with the members of the Japanese Canadian Community who were harmed by Mr. Nakayama.
12. And we assure you that the Anglican Church takes these matters seriously, and takes steps to prevent this type of behaviour.
The next steps will be to continue working with the Anglican Church Dioceses of Calgary and New Westminster to create a meaningful follow-up to this apology that can support survivors of G.G. Nakayama's clergy sexual abuse.