Statement about the abuse of spiritual responsibility

Jun 27, 2019 by

Delivered at the Evangelical Ministry Assembly in Westminster by Vaughan Roberts, Sarah Hall and Andrew Wales, and posted on the ‘’ website.

[…] Our culture is rightly very sensitive to the abuse of power, as we have seen for example in the ‘Me Too’ movement. Many shocking instances have been exposed and, sadly, they are not just in the world, but also in the church – and not just in other sections of the church, but very close to home. Some are historic cases, which only came to light years after the events. Viewed by today’s rightly much more rigorous standards these cases have often not been handled well.

With this background, we thought it would be important to have a session at EMA in which we begin to think about some crucial questions: How could these abuses happen? How should we respond when they do? How can we do all we can to stop such things happening in the future? …this session had been planned before last Saturday’s Daily Telegraph article about Jonathan Fletcher.

In the light of the fact that more is now in the public domain, we have decided that now is the appropriate time for us to say more publicly; so we are going to state clearly such information as we can at this stage.

First, we speak with sadness and, I hope, with great humility. There is much here that does not reflect well on our constituency. Serious questions will need to be asked about what went on and how it was able to continue. To the extent we have been complicit in a culture which allowed this to happen, real and deep repentance will be needed. Change will be necessary.

Secondly, many here are affected. Some, because of hurt caused by Jonathan. To them, we want to say how sorry we are. We want to support you; and we invite your help as we seek to respond rightly to what has happened. Others will be affected because they respect Jonathan and love him; and because they are only now hearing of these matters for the first time. To those people, we invite you please to reflect carefully on all we say.

Thirdly, there may be others here who have been abused, or are experiencing abuse – maybe in a ministry context; maybe not. What we say today might distress you. If it would help you, do speak to someone you trust. If you’d find it helpful to pray with someone at the end of the session, people will be available…

Read here


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