The United Church of Canada (UNC) in Saskatchewan issued a strong statement blasting church-run Legacy Christian Academy (LCA) and the Mile Two Church following the publication of a $25-million sexual abuse case in August against the school.
Threats Against Sexual Abuse Survivors
According to a report by Global News, the United Church of Canada denounced the threats directed toward sexual abuse survivors like Caitlin Erickson. Erickson studied at the LCA, where she allegedly suffered sexual abuse.
The news outlet said Erickson and fellow survivors' public rebuke of the negative experience they had in the hands of Legacy Christian Academy teachers triggered the anonymous threats.
Erickson reportedly showed copies of email messages she received, one of which told her to "stop talking to the press, if you value your life," coupled with a Bible verse saying, "For our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29)."
Aside from the threatening emails, vandals also targeted Erickson's home. The unidentified attackers first spray-painted her home, then forcibly entered it on another occasion. The attack culminated by razing her home to the ground, the news outlet bared.
"We extend to Ms. Caitlin Erickson, and to all the survivors of Legacy Christian Academy, our respect and gratitude for their courage in naming the abuse. The experiences they have described should never be associated with any place of learning, or with any Christian context. As we said in an earlier statement, we reject the theology and practices surrounding beliefs espoused by the school. We reject transphobic and homophobic beliefs associated with some expressions of Christianity, including Legacy Christian Academy," Global News quoted the statement saying.
UNC also condemned the unnecessary use of the scripture in carrying out the threats against Erickson.
"We denounce the utter abuse of scripture we have witnessed in the campaign of harassment against Ms. Erickson. To use Hebrews 12:29 as a threat in the course of setting fire to someone's home is heinous, and has absolutely nothing to do with the tenets of the Christian faith," UNC explained.
Mile Two Church's Reaction to Plaintiffs
Brien Johnson, the pastor of Mile Two Church, allegedly said in a sermon that some of the plaintiffs' stories about the alleged sexual abuse are 'untrue.'
"The pastor of Mile Two Church is on record as saying in a sermon, "Some of the stories are true. Some of the stories I think are exaggerated. Some of them I don't know if they're true or not... We've got to trust that the truth is going to come to light and we want the truth to come to light," UNC said.
The news outlet disclosed that Johnson's father, Keith, was among the defendants in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
UNC's Message to Mile Two Church Members
In closing, UNC urged the members of Mile Two Church to do an introspection relevant to the sexual abuse issue.
"We ask the members of Mile Two Church, our siblings in the body of Christ, to reflect on how they are ensuring that truth will come to light. We ask them to reflect on whether they are creating an environment of mistrust or fear that impedes the truth being heard and accepted. We call on them to ensure that their words and actions do not perpetuate a dangerous environment for Ms. Erickson, any other survivors of Legacy Christian Academy, and indeed for any survivors of Christian-based abuse," UNC said in their statement.