Friday, November 30, 2012

PA - Church leaders learn about taking sex offenders into congregations

Original Article



When sexual offenders seek church, synagogue, mosque or temple membership, faith communities need to balance protecting victims and members in the congregation with providing the offender a chance to worship, an Atlanta minister and attorney said Monday in Camp Hill.

When clergy use pornography, congregation members and leaders need to report it to denomination officials and police.

When faith communities don’t have “safe sanctuary” policies, they need to get them now, the Rev. Joy Melton told about 125 people Monday at a “Faithful Response to Burning Issues in the Church” seminar.

I don’t say if the situation of sexual offenders wanting to be in your congregation will happen,” Melton, a nationally recognized leader in development of ministry protection and abuse prevention policies, said at the Camp Hill United Methodist Church. “I say when.”

Sponsored by the Ecumenical Task Force for Training on Sexuality Issues, the seminar attracted clergy and church leaders from several denominations. Melton, a recognized national leader in development of ministry protection and abuse prevention policies, said that up to 20,000 convicted sex offenders are released from jail annually.

Although some tell pastors that “they found Jesus Christ in jail” or “I served my sentence,” that’s not reason enough to incorporate them into the congregation, she said.

You need to plan ahead for these situations,” she said. “It costs a lot more for your congregation to settle a lawsuit than it does to learn how to have safe sanctuary policies and procedures.”

1 comment :

Bill said...

None of this garbage would be going on in our churches and places of worship if the registry was not public. Before the registry people had to put faith in God for their protection and pray to him for guidance. Now with the registry people put faith in themselves and look for people like Joy Melton for guidance. The church is falling from faith and falling from grace. I would so like to talk to Joy Melton about her strategy plan. The article does not list any strategies so I would half to guess. I'm not going to waist my time doing that. Whatever her strategy I will guarantee you they are flawed and largely ineffective. Any effective strategy would require a crystal ball. Or a time machine so you could travel forward in time to see what will happen then backward to try to derail the event if you could. We can not eliminate risk from our lives. There are times for every one that despite our best efforts to avoid calamity we find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Bible gives us comfort for those events in our lives with the verse. All things work to the good for those who know Christ. All things! Not some things that are not really bad but even the really bad things.