United Methodist Leaders respond to #Me Too and #Church Too Movement

January 23, 2018EOC News    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    January 23, 2018

(Cont' from written media, February church newsletter mailed out to church members.)

Over the recent weeks and months.......

We acknowledge that the Church is also a place where sexual misconduct happens when persons in power positions choose to abuse their power. The stories are all too similar.  Alleged victims are often reluctant to come forward fearing they will not be believed or they will experience retaliation and the decision to report will be held against them.  Sexual misconduct is a symptom of a systemic problem within our Church and society where patriarchy flourishes.

The Church is a place for spiritual growth.  Unfortunately, spiritual violence happens every time a person experiences sexual misconduct within the Church.  Nothing excuses this behavior.

In November 2017, before the most recent flurry of stories came forward, the Council of Bishops affirmed, through its members, renewed commitment to addressing the systemic causes of sexual misconduct and abuse of power.  Upon invitation, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women provided two training sessions to the bishops during their recent meeting on topics of sustaining integrity in ministry and response to sexual misconduct.

The Council of Bishops is committed to leading The United Methodist Church in the prevention of sexual misconduct, to offering healing to the victims, and to finding paths for Christ's love to be shown to the perpetrator while maintaining standards of accountability.

The Council of Bishops joins with The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women to strongly encourage and support the reporting of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment allegations within the Church, Our denomination's website, www.umsexualethics.org offers information and a toll free, confidential number for support through the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.

To the extent of our ability, we pledge to do the right thing iin every complaint received, including listening well to hear the story and developing a response which holds persons accountable and offers healing for all affected.

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President, Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church

Bishop Tracy Malone,President of the Board, General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church

Dawn Wiggins, General Secretary, General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of The United Methodist CHurch