Minister Sexual Misconduct

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Diana Garland from Baylor University’s School of Social Work has just completed a study examining the prevalence of clergy sexual misconduct in churches and the characteristic environment in churches where clergy sexual misconduct occurs. The study found that 3% of women in congregations had been victims of clergy sexual misconduct.  That’s too many.  One is too many.   

This study is a great resource for beginning a conversation in your church about the destructive nature of clergy sexual abuse and is a great way to introduce the idea of creating child and vulnerable population protection policies for your church.  You can read about the findings of the study here: http://www.baylor.edu/clergysexualmisconduct/. The website also provices good resources including a sample code of ethics that your church can use and an article on strategies for preventing sexual misconduct in your church. The BGCT also provides sample policies that you can adapt for your church, reporting requirements when sexual abuse happens, suggestions on running background checks and other resources at www.bgct.org/brokentrust

We all wish that minister sexual misconduct was not a problem.  We wish it didn’t happen, that no one would ever be victimized, that congregations wouldn’t be torn apart, that church really would be a safe and welcoming place for all people.  But wishing just won’t make it happen. We’ve got to educate our churches about the problem of clergy sexual misconduct.  We must create and abide by policies to protect our churches and those who come to worship with us.  We must run background checks and reference checks on vocational ministers and volunteers alike.  Wishing won’t make the problem go away, but we can begin to make our churches safer places.

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One Response to “Minister Sexual Misconduct”

  1. charley Says:

    Here’s an idea. Why don’t we just do away completely with the idea of fallen sinful human beings as ministers and church participants. Let’s build a bunch of robots and program them to preach sermons and visit hospitals and teach Sunday school so that we don’t have to expose ourselves to the moral frailties of mankind.

    Better yet, let’s forget about grace and redemption for the fallen and strive toward a human engineered albeit synthetic perfection that can’t be blemished or tarnished by human touch. Let’s insist on absolute perfection in anybody under consideration for any role in any church anywhere, anytime, anyplace. Let’s study harder and do more research so the church can do away completely with any need for the human species. After all, it’s such a liability.

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