‘Ministerial Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure’ provides updated process for the church

(Mennonite Church USA/Mennonite Church Canada)Ministerial Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure is a resource to equip Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada to address ministerial sexual misconduct directly and boldly.

This work builds on previous policies and procedures developed by denominational leaders throughout both national church bodies in 2000 as a guide for congregations and area conferences in addressing ministerial misconduct, including sexual and ethical misconduct.

The revised and updated Policy and Procedure incorporates valuable input from area conference ministers, survivors of ministerial sexual abuse, professionals who work with sexual abuse and legal counsel in both the USA and Canada.

“This updated Policy and Procedure takes seriously the insidious nature of ministerial sexual misconduct,” said Karen Martens Zimmerly, Mennonite Church Canada Executive Minister, Formation & Pastoral Leadership. “And therefore it includes more checks and balances to hold both the accused minister and the area church accountable and requires that an individual with professional training in sexual abuse is a part of each team involved in the procedure.”

The document includes theological background, definitions, a policy overview, and a step-by-step outline for a complaint procedure. A flowchart of the various steps and forms for use in the process are offered as addenda.

It is intentional about offering a fair and deliberate process that also offers care for the complainant.

“The revised Policy and Procedure pays special attention to the complainant to insure that abuse involving a child is reported, that the safety of the complainant is named and that the complainant is kept informed throughout the process,” Mennonite Church USA denominational minister Nancy Kauffmann said. “There is also an option for the complainant to appeal a judgment made by the Ministerial Leadership Committee.”

The document is available online at http://mennoniteusa.org/resource/sexual-misconduct. For questions, contact Terry Shue, director of Leadership Development, at TerryS@mennoniteusa.org or 574-523-3095.

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— Mennonite Church USA staff