By CBF-BWIM Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force
In the summer of 2016, CBF’s Ministries Council in partnership with Baptist Women in Ministry formed the Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force to address and prevent clergy sexual abuse in our congregations and communities. The Task Force, which is composed of pastors, professors, lawyers, non-profit leaders, social workers, and experts in abuse prevention and response, meets regularly to learn about clergy sexual abuse, support survivors, host workshops, offer training, and create resources for congregational education and policy development. For more information about the work of the Task Force, visit this 2019 CBFBlog article.
When the Task Force gathered for its spring meeting last week, the Guidepost Solutions, LLC report to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee regarding its handling of abuse allegations was about two weeks old. Because the Task Force has studied the impacts of abuse and the increased trauma of inadequate response, we shared their grief and prayed for our SBC kindred and all survivors of clergy abuse. Our knowledge that neither polity nor theology protects against acts of abuse by faith leaders within any tradition, led us to prayer for wisdom and strength as we continue our Task Force’s mission.
When CBF receives an allegation of clergy sexual misconduct against an adult, we believe the report and offer connection to our network of licensed pastoral counselors. Then, if the victim chooses to be part of an investigation, CBF contacts an independent, 3rd-party investigator. With a finding of misconduct, the investigator’s report is given to the church for appropriate response.
While our video and discussion-based educational resources, along with our policy recommendations have been available to download free of cost for several years, they are now available to download anonymously from both the Baptist Women in Ministry and CBF webpages in order to remove any and all barriers for individuals and congregations to receive these much-needed resources. Additionally, there will be workshops at CBF’s General Assembly (June 28-30) addressing abuse prevention, responding well, and cultivating a trauma-informed ministry within churches.
Our Task Force continues to work developing resources for congregations and survivors of clergy sexual abuse. We have also formed a partnership with Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) to prepare CBF-related trainers for their church safeguarding initiative.
To explore training and policy development, please contact CBF’s abuse prevention and response advocate, Jay Kieve (firstname.lastname@example.org / (803) 767-3456) or Baptist Women in Ministry’s executive director, Meredith Stone (email@example.com).