Clergy Sexual Misconduct
In June of 2016 the CBF Ministries Council proposed, and the CBF Governing Board approved, the formation of a Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force. The task force is a joint project of CBF and Baptist Women in Ministry with a focus on the prevention of abuse in our churches. Initial goals are to:
- Collect and compile best practices and policy guidelines that can be distributed to churches and partners via CBF and BWIM networks.
- Raise awareness by creating educational resources for congregational use and by offering educational opportunities (workshops at General Assemblies, gatherings of state CBF and BWIM groups, seminary connections).
At the CBF General Assembly in June of 2018 the task force will preview an educational video for use in congregations as well as distribute a church policy guideline resource.
Long term goals of the task force are to:
- Create a Baptist-principled system that takes recommendation of ministers and laity who have committed acts of clergy sexual misconduct and maintains a witness to their being unfit for continued ministry/leadership.
- Collaborate with partner institutions to cultivate research on statistics and trends of clergy sexual misconduct in general and specifically in Baptist life.
- Create resources, trainings, and programing for seminary students and professors on prevention and responses to clergy sexual misconduct.
- Work with institutional partners to identify or develop recovery services for survivors of clergy sexual misconduct, including counseling, advocacy, or referral services for the survivors, congregations, and perpetrators and their families.
The 2016 motion to create the task force read: “In memory of and to honor our friend and trusted leader, Dr. Diana Garland, and to continue her important research and work on healthy clergy and ministerial ethics, the Ministries Council recommends the formation by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in collaboration with Baptist Women in Ministry of a Task Force that will focus on prevention of clergy sexual misconduct, creation and distribution of policies, provision of education opportunities, and developing resources for survivors and will have the goal of promoting healthy ministers, churches, and institutions within the Fellowship.”
The Task Force now is comprised of two attorneys, two pastors, four church staff members, four social work degrees, two seminary professors, two leaders of CBF partner organizations, one pastoral counselor and several survivors and/or family members of survivors. Those serving are:
- Anne Cronic—minister of music, Central Baptist Church, Newnan, Georgia
- Pam Durso—executive director, Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia
- Jennifer Hawks—associate general counsel, Baptist Joint Committee, Washington, D.C.
- Jenny Hodge—youth minister, Churchland Baptist Church, Chesapeake, Virginia
- Jay Kieve—coordinator, CBF of South Carolina, Anderson, South Carolina
- Nina Maples—senior associate pastor for pastoral care and leadership development, Highland Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky
- David Pooler—associate dean for baccalaureate and graduate studies at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland’s School of Social Work, Waco, Texas
- Micah Pritchett—pastor, North Broad Baptist Church, Rome, Georgia
- Stephen Reeves—associate coordinator of partnership and advocacy, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Decatur, Georgia
- Terry Rosell—professor of pastoral theology in ethics and ministry praxis, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Shawnee, Kansas, and the Rosemary Flanigan Chair at the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Missouri
- Bob Searl—pastor, North Stuart Baptist Church, Stuart, Florida