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Pastoral Letter in response to clergy sex abuse in Southern Baptist Convention

Dear Siblings in Christ,

Like many of you, we are deeply affected by the news about leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention choosing institutional preservation over protecting victim-survivors of clergy abuse across more than 15 years.

That this happened in another denomination and not our United Church of Christ is not a salve. Abuse by a religious leader is never acceptable, and those who aid in the perpetration of abuse are just as guilty as the ones who directly abuse. Jesus Christ, as head of the church, has modeled for us the kind of right relationship demanded of our faith – a faith which recognizes no borders or divisions, including that of denominational affiliation.

And while we are confident in our current professional standards – and processes for investigation and accountability action – that is cold comfort for the painful truth that it took many known and unknown incidents of clergy abuse in our Conference and the wider UCC to build this kind of accountability structure.

We know that many in the UCC, as well as in other denominations, carry the scars of clergy abuse. News like that coming from the SBC can be re-traumatizing. If you are in need of spiritual care and are not a member of a local church in Northern California or Nevada, please reach out to our office and we can make a referral.

In prayerful lament for a wounded body of Christ,

Rev. Dr. Diane L. Weible, Conference Minister
Rev. Davena L. Jones, Associate Conference Minister
Rev. Daniel Ross-Jones, MPA, Associate Conference Minister

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