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Bishop's Statement on Alleged Clergy Misconduct

4/4/2018


Greetings to each of you,

I come to you to share what I can about a difficult event that we became aware of near the end of last week. One of the members of our covenant community of clergy was arrested for alleged sexual misconduct with minors. It breaks our hearts, yet we seek to be the church in the midst of great pain.  

Some of you may be wondering, ‘what is the Mississippi Conference’s role when things like this happen in the midst of our imperfect world?’ I want to assure you all that we, as Mississippi United Methodists, have a process of accountability that is already in place and is being followed. Per that process, the accused is currently suspended from his ministerial duties. Since the accused is a credentialed member, the Mississippi Conference Board of Ordained Ministry will oversee the reinstating or revoking of his credentials after due process has occurred.    

We are grateful to have a trained healing team in place to help persons and faith communities deal with all the brokenness and emotions that arise. Additionally, we are thankful that as a connectional church, we have great resources at our disposal that help us be the church to all involved. We always seek to be a healing presence to the congregations, families, the accused and all others who are affected by the filing of such charges. 

This is a legal matter so as we are able, we will share updates as more developments unfold. Please be in prayer for wisdom, healing and wholeness for all involved.

Blessings,

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.

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