Resonate Global Mission received permission from the Christian Reformed Church’s Council of Delegates to use some its reserves to establish a designated fund to cover costs and support for victims related to allegations of abuse involving current or former ministries of Resonate Global Mission or its predecessors Christian Reformed Home Missions and Christian Reformed World Missions.
Kevin DeRaaf, director of Resonate-Canada, said stories of abuse surfaced two years ago related to the Christian Academy of Japan. CAJ was established in 1950 to provide Christian education to children of missionaries but has since expanded to serve other families. The founding mission organizations include Resonate Global Mission, Serve Globally (Evangelical Covenant Church), SEND International, The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM), and WorldVenture.
In 2019, Resonate received a letter outlining various allegations of abuse that took place at CAJ between 1963-1987. Four perpetrators were named, including one who was a World Missions missionary. In response, four of the founding agencies launched an independent investigation. SEND initiated its own investigation. (See “Resonate Global Mission Launching Investigation into Allegations of Abuse.”)
With the 400-page report nearly complete, Resonate came to the Council with its request for a designated fund to cover “legal costs related to sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse (including possible settlements); counseling and support of survivors of such abuse; and the costs of administering and coordinating an effective response to such abuse.” (See “CAJ Abuse Investigation Nearing Final Stages.”)
Zachary King, director of Resonate-U.S. told delegates, “We expect to make some significant financial outlays to cover expenses related to the investigation itself … and also in support for survivors because we clearly want to do everything we can to support those who were harmed in the past.”
He told delegates that there is always the possibility of litigation. “The advice we've gotten from our lawyers is that we should take as much responsibility and provide as much support for survivors as we can. That is the best way that we can honor our commitments to God and to mission. And we know there are very likely other issues out there. We want to be prepared for whatever the future holds,” he said. “This is an important moment when we have to stand for our faith and Christ Jesus and repent and take responsibility for the past, so that's one of the many reasons why we're doing this.”
In a related action, the Council adopted a CRCNA Child Safeguarding Policy, the purpose of which is to reduce risks to children as a result of the work of the CRCNA agencies and ministries, and to ensure acts of abuse are identified and dealt with. It applies to any work implemented or funded by the CRCNA, all CRCNA staff, and volunteers.
The Christian Reformed Church’s Council of Delegates met Oct. 13-15. The Council is a binational board of the denomination composed of one delegate from each classis (regional group of churches) and a few at-large delegates. It meets three times a year and reports to synod, the broadest assembly of the church.