Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force

In July 2016, Pam Durso, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, and Stephen Reeves,associate coordinator for advocacy and partnerships for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, after many conversations and meetings, formed a Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force for the purposes of addressing the prevalence of clergy sexual misconduct and with a grand hope and commitment to fostering healthy churches. The Task Force 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, DC
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 academic affairs 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

Members of the Task Force agreed to serve a two-year commitment with at least one face-to-face meeting per year and three to four other meetings via conference call. The Task Force in November formed two sub-groups—one to collect and distribute best practices policies for churches and one to address and formulate educational resources for churches, ministers, and seminaries. These sub-groups reflect the three primary missions of the Task Force:

  • To collect and compile best practices policies that can be distributed to churches and partners via CBF and BWIM networks.
  • To raise awareness through educational opportunities (workshops at General Assemblies, gatherings of state CBF and BWIM groups, seminary connections).
  • To provide recovery services resources and information.

The Task Force has been hard at work and has produced a list of resources for churches and survivors, a list that includes books, articles, and web links. The Task Force has sponsored the co-publishing of four blogs that address clergy sexual misconduct, and more blogs are in the works. In addition, the Task Force is working on policy guidelines and process procedures to share with churches and partners. Finally, the Task Force will soon release educational resources that are geared toward churches–to be used with small groups, deacons, and church staff and leadership.

If you or someone you know is looking for help, here are some trusted resources:

Clergy Sexual Misconduct Taskforce Blog Series

Just One Little Kiss: A Case of Clergy Sexual Abuse

To draw attention to the ever-present and devastating reality of clergy sexual abuse and to provide resources for churches, lay members, and ministers, the Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force formed jointly by Baptist Women in Ministry and the Cooperative Baptist...

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Five Ways You Can Support Victims of Abuse by Nina Maples

Five Ways You Can Support Victims of Abuse by Nina Maples

Susan has a death in her family, and friends from church line up with casseroles. Marcia has breast cancer, and her name is added to the church prayer list. Shana is going through a divorce, and her Bible study class offers to help with her kids. Debbie is going to...