Petition 81177

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Supervisory Response When Complaint is Against a District Superintendent (81177-JA-¶362.1)

Add new sub-paragraph after ¶362.1b)
Supervisory Response When Complaint is against District Superintendent – When a complaint is filed against a district superintendent by a clergy person within his/her supervisory oversight, the bishop shall take extra precautions in the dispute resolution process and during all judicatory procedures.  While a formal complaint is being addressed relating to a district superintendent filed by a clergy person serving within the same district, the bishop may temporarily assign supervision of the clergy member and his/her charge area to another district superintendent during the complaint and resolution process.
    Sexual misconduct, harassment, racial and gender discrimination are evils that cause brokenness to the body of Christ in the church and can leave lasting scars on victims of abuse and on the institution of the church.  It is important that all efforts be made by the church to prevent further harm to individuals, local churches, and to The United Methodist Church as a whole, and to work with due diligence to begin the process for healing immediately.
    When a complaint filed against a district superintendent involves sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, harassment, or racial or gender discrimination, the bishop shall assign a different district superintendent to supervise the clergy person(s) filing complaint; at the same time the bishop shall affirm the respondent district superintendent’s right to a fair and just process without assuming guilt during the hearing process.
Retribution or the fear of retribution leads many to not address concerns openly and with a goal of reconciliation.  The process used when addressing complaints against district superintendents should be considered in ways that reduce the risk of retribution or fear of retribution both on the part of clergy and laity involved.


Rationale

The purpose of this resolution is to address concerns about assignment of clergy under a district superintendent they have filed complaints against.  There is concern that bishops may not take as serious as necessary the implications and risk of retribution for clergy who come forward with complaints against supervising elders.