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Synod 2006: Church to Seek Way to Respond to Abuse Victims

The Judicial Code Committee of the denomination reported to synod that it did not conduct a hearing in the matter of a man from Colorado who was sexually abused as a child by a Cadet counselor at his church (see “Abuse Victim Seeks Compensation,” May 2006, p. 16).

The chair of the committee, Robert Jonker, told delegates that committee members were not happy to make that decision but felt that the Judicial Code Committee is an inappropriate mechanism for dealing with the issues arising from the case, such as compensation for the victim. “The materials are compelling, and we have a hurt and broken individual whose relationship to the church has been breached,” he said. “This is a difficult issue that deserves the attention of the denomination.”

Delegates agreed. They instructed the CRC’s Board of Trustees to appoint a task force to consider how the denomination ought to respond, in financial terms or otherwise, to the very real consequences of sexual abuse in the lives of current and former members.

“We need to do whatever it takes to find a mechanism,” said Rev. James Dekker, Classis Niagara.

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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