You may have read in the newspaper or seen on television this week that Chicago Presbytery is facing a multi-million dollar debt due to the settlement of a lawsuit regarding terrible misconduct by one of its former minister members during the 1990s. In order to prevent further harm to the victims, the court supported a confidential agreement requested by the victims to keep the details private. This has been no secret; pastors and elders of all Presbyterian churches have been informed by the Presbytery all through the process. The lawsuit and subsequent debt happened in 2007.
As Presbyterians, it is important for us to know about our church's response. Once informed of the misconduct:
- The Presbytery prevented the perpetrator from serving in any church or ministry position in which further harm could be done.
- The Presbytery sought as much healing and justice as possible by expressing genuine remorse directly to the victims and making a significant financial settlement
- The Presbytery has been as open and transparent about what happened as possible, given the court order to avoid re-injuring the victims.
To retire the debt, the presbytery reluctantly sought a buyer for Presbyterian Camps in Saugatuck, Michigan. The camp has been under contract for a year now, and closing is scheduled for Friday, February 14th.
We Presbyterians have tried to act as openly, fairly, and faithfully as possible in dealing with this terrible injustice. Let us keep those who who have been harmed, as well as those who grieve, in our prayers.