You may remember I wrote a letter to Archbishop Hiltz of the Canadian Anglican church after Maggie Helwig tried to bully and get me to leave her church. I received a call from the Archbishop’s office a couple of weeks later, asking me if it was acceptable that they forward this matter to Colin Johnson, the Archbishop of Toronto. I thanked them for their attention to the matter and agreed with their suggestion.
I finally received an apologetic response from Archbishop Johnson last week. It was a friendly letter, if not a bit political, and it didn’t address my ask for the church’s help in resolving the false accusations that caused this event to occur. I’ve scanned the letter and posted it below.
I’ve been sitting on the letter for a few days, trying to figure the best way to respond to the Archbishop’s failure to even address my request. At the minimum, I would have expected him to say no. I was perplexed as to how I would respond to that.
Then last night I had another, even more, disturbing incident with Maggie Helwig. I’m glad I held-off on responding to the Archbiship because I know have something more substantial to share with him. Here’s the letter I’m delivering to his office today:
Dear Archbishop Johnson,
First, I’d like to thank you for your letter, and for taking the time to investigate this matter. The incident that occurred with Maggie Helwig was deeply disturbing, and I appreciate the apologetic tone of your letter. That said, I was somewhat disappointed that there was no apology from Maggie herself.
I was even more disappointed to see that you hadn’t addressed my request for the church’s intervention in helping to mediate a solution to the false accusations made against me by a minority of people at Occupy Toronto. This was the key point in my writing my letter to you.
To speak frankly, I found your approach to be somewhat disrespectful. Coming from a family with over 200 years of history with the church, and multiple generations buried on it’s grounds, I expected to at least get the courtesy of not having my request brushed-off.
I was unsure how to respond when I received your letter, and have been contemplating an approach for the past few days. Then, last night, I had a even more disturbing incident with Maggie Helwig.
I was acting as an independent journalist (I’m not part of the student movement), filming a student fees march on the side of the Bloor street, when I was assaulted by a violent anarchist yesterday (who was dressed in all-black, wearing a face mask). I was standing there silently, and not interacting with them. I believe the attack occurred because they were unhappy to be filmed- despite the fact it is perfectly legal, and quite normal to be filming such an event.
After the police came to protect me, and the thugs decided to back-off, I was totally shocked to watch Maggie come over from the crowd and give me an ugly look. Even more surprising was that she then joined the violent anarchists and begin to give them her support. I have this whole interaction on film.
This incident is problematic on a number of levels. First, it leaves me questioning the sincerity of Maggie Helwig’s mission when she passed judgement on me for being the victim of a violent attack. But, more importantly, it was astounding to see her giving comfort to a violent aggressor at the same moment. There is something seriously wrong with this situation.I learned last night that the person who attacked me has a history of violence, and was arrested during the G20 after multiple physical confrontations with the police.
I was initially planning to write and make a second request for your assistance with the injustice I faced through Occupy Toronto. But, now, I must now come to you with a more serious request.
It is my perception that Maggie Helwig’s behaviour towards me last night, and her support of a violent criminal over a victim, is divergent from what should be expected from an Anglican priest. I would like to file a formal complaint about her behaviour last night, and to insist on a formal investigation. I would also like to, once again, request the church’s assistance in resolving the false accusations that have been made against me.
I thank you, in advance, for your timely attention to this matter and respectfully look forward to your response.