Being a Church of Justice
This open letter to Presiding Bishop Curry, President Jennings, and the House of Bishops addresses what some are interpreting as ambiguities in the General Convention Resolution D034.
Task Force on Compassionate Care for Victims of Clergy Sexual Misconduct
On November 11, 2017, the 44th Diocesan Convention approved Resolution 17-04, requiring the formation of a task force to study the experience of women and men who file complaints of clergy sexual misconduct in our diocese and to recommend changes to assure more compassionate care of these individuals. As required by the resolution, victims and survivors are a significant presence on the task force.
The task force members are:
The Rev. Paige Blair-Hubert
Rector of St. Peter’s, Del Mar
Survivor of clergy sexual misconduct
Mary Doak, PhD
Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego
Survivor of clergy sexual misconduct in our diocese
The Rev. Roy Hoffman
Chaplain-in-residence at St. Peter’s, Del Mar
As survivors and allies, we understand the courage it takes to file a complaint against clergy members. We know that the church’s response often creates more trauma and can lead to the victim leaving the church. We will recommend changes that we hope will help minimize harm and maximize healing, both for the complainant and the affected congregation.
To develop best practices, we seek to learn from the body of Christ in our diocese. If you have experienced clergy sexual misconduct in any way — as a victim, family member, or fellow congregant — we invite you to contact one of us. If you filed a complaint in this or any other diocese, we would like to learn from your experience. Anything you share will be held in the strictest confidence.
To be clear: we are looking for those who have previously filed complaints against clergy. If you believe you have experienced harm and would like to know how to file a formal complaint, please visit the Reporting Misconduct page.
Letter to the Episcopal Church from Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies
Statue of Limitations Suspension for Clergy Sexual Misconduct Begins January 1, 2019
Dear People of God in the Episcopal Church:
Nearly a year ago, we issued a call for the church to examine its history and come to a fuller understanding of how we have handled or mishandled cases of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse through the years. In particular, we asked to hear voices from the wider church at General Convention so that deputies and bishops might consider both how to atone for the church’s past and shape a more just future. As followers of Jesus of Nazareth, as children of God with all people, we could do no less, and we must do more.
In July, General Convention considered 26 resolutions and one memorial addressing issues the #MeToo movement has brought to light, many of them developed by the House of Deputies Special Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation. One of these resolutions, Resolution D034, suspends for three years the canon (church law) that places a time limit on initiating proceedings in cases of clergy sexual misconduct against adults. There is no time limit on reporting clergy sexual misconduct against children and youth under age 21.
As a result of this resolution, from January 1, 2019 until December 31, 2021, those who wish to bring a case of sexual misconduct against a member of the clergy will be able to do so, regardless of how long ago the alleged misconduct occurred. Allegations of misconduct can be made to the intake officer in the diocese where the alleged misconduct occurred, or, if the allegation is against a bishop, to the Office of Pastoral Development. You can learn how to reach the intake officer in a diocese by checking its website or calling the bishop’s office.
We hope that this temporary suspension of the statute of limitations will be one way for the church to come to terms with cases of sexual misconduct in our collective past. Between now and General Convention in 2021, laypeople, clergy and bishops appointed to several task forces created by the 2018 General Convention will be working on other ways of addressing these issues, including a process to help the church engage in truth-telling, confession, and reconciliation regarding our history of gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence.
We are grateful to the many deputies, bishops and other volunteers across the church whose careful work before, during, and after General Convention is helping our church move closer to the day when, having repented of our sins and amended our common life, we may be restored in love, grace and trust with each other through our Savior Jesus Christ.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
Presiding Bishop and Primate President, House of Deputies