Important Announcement from Pastor Todd

Dear Epworth Family,

 

I am saddened to report that we have learned that a former music director who served at our church from the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s is under investigation based on allegations of sexual abuse which may have occurred until (or maybe even after) the early 1990’s.  Although the investigation does not center upon any allegations of misconduct that may have occurred at Epworth, or involving any Epworth children or youth, we believe strongly that we should conduct our own investigation in case there was any sexual abuse here or involving any of our church members or participants in any of our church activities, including choirs.

 

To this end, we are asking anyone who may have been sexually abused by a former music director during this time period, or anyone who may have information regarding such abuse, to come forward by making a report to me.  I would ask that the report be written and signed, with contact information for the reporter.  Anyone who responds to this request will be treated with the utmost respect and care, and the church will offer counseling, at our expense, to any victims who seek that service.  We will also ask permission to share any information anyone may pass along with local law enforcement officials.

 

Finally, we ask you to share this letter with anyone you know who may have attended Epworth, or participated in activities here, during and around this period of time, but who may have moved to other cities, or other churches.

 

At Epworth United Methodist Church, the physical and emotional safety of our children and youth is our highest priority, and there is no behavior more opposed to our values than the sexual predation of children. While we believe that our policies and practices relating to child protection are strong, our staff and Staff Parish Relations Committee will nevertheless conduct a thorough review of those policies and practices, including our training of volunteers and staff, our requirement of appropriate boundaries between leaders and students, our emphasis on the duty to report suspected abuse, and our efforts to educate children and youth about how to protect and advocate for themselves and their peers. This review will last as long as it takes in order for us to feel as confident as possible that those who participate in activities here are safe.  We are grateful for your support, your trust and your prayers as we move forward together.

 

In Christ,

Todd Noren-Hentz

Epworth United Methodist Church

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