Clergy Sexual Abuse

The Board of General Superintendents has issued the following statement in response to the widespread publicity regarding clergy sexual abuse issues:

Recent media coverage of cases of clergy sexual abuse has heightened our awareness of the delicate nature of the relationships that clergy and other Christian workers have with the people to whom they minister, whatever their age, gender, or circumstance. The position of the Church of the Nazarene has always been that those who minister must be above reproach in every regard. They must not abuse the positions of trust and authority given them and must never soil the good name of the Church of Jesus Christ by behavior that is in any way less than utterly pure and trustworthy.

The General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene has adopted judicial procedures for use by the local churches and districts of the church, those entities responsible for credentialing clergy. Those procedures clearly indicate the steps by which allegations of abuse must be addressed and investigated. Local churches and districts have always been encouraged to pursue allegations of sexual abuse rigorously, following the recommended procedures for removing the credentials of ministers who offend. Any restoration to ministry may occur only after a prescribed and extended process of restoration. Some who offend may never be restored to ministry, depending on the nature of the alleged abuse, thus negating any possibility of a position of authority or responsibility in the church.

We encourage our people to select carefully those persons, whether clergy or lay, who work with children and youth. The necessary safeguards for workers should include requests for permission to do necessary background checks with appropriate legal authorities, policies regarding the presence of at least two adults with children at all times, and windows in all classroom and office or hallway doors. Recommended safeguards and policies for further protecting children and youth from potential abuse are available through our offices of Children's Ministries and Nazarene Youth International in Lenexa, Kansas, U.S.A.

The integrity of the Church of Jesus Christ must be protected at all times. Our holiness ethic will allow us no alternative but to protect those for whom we are responsible by insuring that all workers in the church, clergy and lay, both paid and volunteer, are above reproach. Attached is important specific information regarding Manual paragraph 435.14 and legal implications about child abuse reporting.

Board of General Superintendents