There is a troubling trend within my fellow clergy in this area of the world. Now it could simply be coincidence. I am sure that I don’t hear of all the situations like this all over my conference, so it could happen else where. What troubles me is the number of clergy that are getting in trouble for sexual misconduct.
Two United Methodist churches in my town, only three miles away from one another, both lost their minster because they were brought up on charges. Consequently these ministers are no longer with the UMC system, whether by choice or not. I am not going to get into details. There are have been other churches in our town, non-UM churches, who have dealt with the same thing. Then last Wednesday, it was reported on the local news that a UM pastor was arrested for “for prostitution and solicitation for crimes against nature” in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
All of this happening 30 miles apart from one another over the course of a year and half has really got me thinking. What is happening to the clergy in this area? What is leading these religious leaders to break up their families and send deep emotional cuts into their churches for the sake of sex? Bill Cosby once said, “God gave men two heads but blood only to work one at a time.” I am curious why these men, these clergy cannot think with the one on their shoulder.
I feel for our District Superintendents who deal with these issues. They hear all the crap, the junk, and the raw emotions on both the clergy and church side of these issues. I wonder how I can help my fellow clergy realize that a moment with a person is not worth it. What kinds of systems are now in place that is pulling these men away from their wives (yes, all three were married at the time, although I know one that is now separated from his wife)? Are we losing these clergy because of lack of accountability? Heavy workload? Not enough ministry to do?
I don’t have answers, just questions while I pray for the congregation that is now the innocent victims of a pastor’s immorality.