Our Pastor Fathered A Child With A 14 Year Old

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Our members at our [edited]church each received a letter with hard evidence that supports our pastor [edited] father a child with a 14 year old [edited] girl in [edited], when he was 27 year old married pastor, which he and his wife adopted the child. He is now 60+. During Sunday service he admitted having a child out of wedlock, but did not go as far as mentioning the age of the mother of the child. His failure to mention the mother's age was obviously deliberate. The consensus it that the members quite disgusted. Many of us do not want a person that has fathered a child with a 14 year old around our children. The letter has appeared to have been cc'd to the [edited]district bishop, and the elder of our district. Our question is what will the bishops do about this situation.

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2003


This is an interesting situation. Let's examine the content of your letter, first you write that a letter was distributed with this revealing news. That smacks of some form of extortion. Of course, if the pastor is a pedophile he should be removed but are you totally sure that you have all the facts? And since he made the confession what does that say to your heart? Are there actions that a pastor might commit that are unforgiveable? What should be the response? Finally is this the proper forum for airing the dirt on a Pastor?

These questions are for everyone not just Sis. Crumble.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2003

Sis. Crumble,

I guess we're stuck at Palm Sunday again....from "praise him" to "crucify him" in a week.......

I agree with the previous post to some extent.

First, we cannot classify Pastor [edited] as a pedophile; we do not know if he continued to have sex with minors after this incident.

Second, it does sound like someone has it out for your pastor. Hounding a person for a crime they committed 30 years ago, and putting his business in the street AND on the web is wrong. Perhaps he should call himself Jean Valjean [edited] (Prof. Dickens will understand).

On the other hand, your pastor is guilty of statuatory rape, BUT his wife knew, and she still helped him raise the child. We don't know if the victim complained. For all we know, the [edited]s might have been unable to have children, and this girl provided them with a child.

Finally, if God and his wife forgave him, why can't your congregation? How would those persons feel if God did the same thing to them? Would their moral character survive a 30-year inquisition?

Rev. John Harper

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2003

One more thing:

This should not be a forum for public exposure/humiliation/trial.

In the future, please do not include specific names, unless the article appears in the press (as in the Morris Brown incident). In fact, I will edit the original post to "protect the innocent".

Rev. John Harper

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2003

Parson Harper: Your reference to Les' Miserables is extremely timely for this problematic topic. The story of Jean Valjean would make for a terrific sermon. The basic theological issues, sin, grace, mercy and personal ressurection are brilliantly deployed in the novel and musical. This forum represents the first time I have ever read a black clergyman showing literary appreciation for this epic tale of malfeasance and redemption in 19th century France. Unfortunately neither the hero in Victor Hugo's timeless story nor the aforementioned minister in question had a "city of refuge" similar to the ones described in the Book of Deuteronomy. QED

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2003

Gentlemen, You have chastised this sister for bringing a valid issue to the forum for discussion. I agree. Names, cc:'s, and specifics should have been deleted. However, the form in which the message was delivered is NOT the issue.

This sister asks a question that warrants an answer, not a defense for the minister. The nature of your response sidesteps the moral obligation of the church to provide sound leadership to it membership and to safeguard its youth.

To say that this sister presents this issue to "crucify" this minister is over the top. The extent of God's mercy is not what is at issue. The issue is stewardship and responsibility.

The A.M.E. church has a moral responsibility to address these issues. If a single female minister became pregnant, would your responses be the same? If a married female minister was accused of having an affair, would your responses be the same? Somehow, gentlemen, I doubt it. In the same context, if this man lived next door to you, you would put a distance between him and YOUR children; even though he's been "forgiven."

Gentlemen, your responses are chauvinistic to say the least. But then, that was/is the case with Catholic church too...........

-- Anonymous, May 12, 2003


What do you mean IF a single female minister became pregnant? I can name several. Gay/Lesbian Deacons and Elders? Pedophiles? Crack Addicts? Felons? Fornicators? Drug Dealers? Adulterers? You would leave the A.M.E. church tomorrow if people named names.

Sis. Crumble's letter was legitimate. Naming the Pastor and the Church was not, hence my letter.

The members of a church have a right to know about the character of their pastor, but not the right to go digging in their past, particularly if the crime/sin is not germane to their situation now. If a female pastor was a stripper in her early twenties, but stopped, and became an on-fire preacher for the Lord, is it the congregation's business to know her past? No. If a female pastor gave a child up for adoption in her teens, is it the congregation's business 30 years later? No.

Now, to give Sis. Crumble and you the "answer":

Ask the Bishop. I have dealt with the Bishop of this district before. He does not tolerate sexual immorality. But:

  1. Since this issue happened 30 years ago, when he wasn't in this District, what can he do?

  2. None of us were there 30 years ago, so we don't know if the Pastor has already been punished by the Bishop.
Ask to have the pastor removed. It happens all the time at Annual Conference. Your Stewards and Trustees now how to do this.

Now as to my "chauvanistic" tendencies: If you knew me, you wouldn't have said that. I have a co-pilot who makes sure that I am not chauvanistic (and would beat me down if I were). She reads all of these letters and my replies. I will charge your accusation to your head and not your heart this time :)

Rev. John Harper

-- Anonymous, May 13, 2003

To be quite honest, Sister Crumble's unedited initial entry disturbed me for various reasons. The first being that she chose to release her pastor's name with regard to a past marital infidelity occuring over thirty years ago, and the fathering a child outside of his marriage with a teenager on a website available to the connectional church. The second was that someone in her church distributed a letter to members of the congregation containing "evidence" of his infidelity.

I cannot understand why someone would distribute letters to a congregation that would hurt another person or pastor of that same congregation. Most important, I cannot understand why someone would seek to destroy another under the guise of seeking help from others on this board. If someone in the congregation had a problem with this pastor they could have spoken to their steward board, the presiding elder, and the bishop. The Discipline states exactly what must be done under these circumstances. There was no need to humiliate and discredit this man publicly.

Ms. Crumble also stated that her pastor admitted having a child out of wedlock. I would suggest a look at the text Luke 17:1-4. Verse 3 reads as follows: So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." He has admitted his sin, so just forgive him.

It is Satan who is the accuser and Jesus the forgiver. Remember John 8 when the Pharisees brought the woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus, He told her that He did not condemn her, and to go and leave her life of sin.

Does this pastor love the Lord? Remember the sinful woman in Luke 7 who kissed Jesus' feet, wet His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and poured the perfume on his feet. Jesus said "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

If there is a repetitive pattern to the infidelities and child molestations than the bishop should be contacted immediately. But to bring up past indiscretions is ugly and accusatory.

-- Anonymous, May 13, 2003

Amen Sis. Brooks, I was also disturbed by the nature and tone of the original post. Sexual infidelity is a serious concern and I don't want to be perceived as underplaying the seriousness of the offense but when information is disseminated in such a hurtful and irresponsible manner I question its veracity.

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2003

Tisha Crumble (Not her real name) should along with the other members of the congregation stay at home and stop wasting God's time on Sunday mornings. Lord PLEEEEAAAASSSSSEEE deliver me from "CHURCH FOLK"

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003

Well, well, here we are again beating another dead horse, I can tell you what the Bishops will do, absolutely nothing, if anything he'll get promoted. I have found in the AMEC that no matter how immoral, how much money a pastor takes from the chuch, how many women he sleeps with, how much drinking or drugs he use, these are all grounds for promotion to Presiding Elders or No. 1 churches. The focus is not on getting help for the men and women but patting them on their backs and saying job well done. The focus in not on how would God deal with these issues. We had a similar problem in our area, however the pastor married the young girl and then she could no longer handle him being her husband, father and pastor she left, he was promoted to a number 3 church and start the same thing over again this time he was jailed and is still serving time. So my dear in answer to your question, keep praying for God to move his hand of Mercy in your church, don't wait for the bishop to move. God is still in control and he will answer by and by.

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2003

My concern is for the child or children. How do we as youth workers, and laity protect our most precious possessions. How do we prevent a situation developing which allows this type of behavior to be repeated over and over. What is the responsibility of each lay member to keep children safe. Each adult in a congregation must accept this as our responsibility. While this might not have occurred in your congregation at this time how can we prevent it from happening. Think of the child, it could be a member of your family or a close friend who is a victim. If a child or children have been adused in one congregation by an adult, how do we alert other congregations of this unacceptable behavior. It may not be the minister it could be any adult who has access to our children. Are we neglecting our responsibility when we do not speak out. How have districts dealt with these situations. We can not shift the responsibility to anyone else.

The harm to children who have been abused is long lasting. It will impact their lives forever.

Are any districts addressing this with their YPD'ers.

The other end of this argument is not to start a panic such that false reports are being made just to cause problems in an adult's life. But we must think of the welfare of the children.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2003

I totally agree, we must take responsibility for all our children and we also must not close our eyes when we see things that our leaders are doing. I feel so bad that in all the years we have been in existence we have not put into place a mechansim to deal with drug addiction, pedafiles, acholism, and any other sickness our clergy may have. We need a center where they can go be treated spiritually as well as psychologically, I know God can cure all, but first we must admit we are sick. The catholic church is now faced with locking up preist that have a sickness, Are we next? God help those children that have not spoken out about these issues.

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2003

Sisters Packer and Watkins, I have just posted a question concerning Sexual Abuse Policies. I wrote before reading this post. My church has finally finished a Policy and have been told that all churches should have a posted, public policy. Putting it together created lots of discussion and examining the environment that we function in here. We have a good number of children and fortunatly we have many adults that work with them. However, a Sexual Abuse Policy protects the children AND the church. For example, any adult that wants to work with kids must undergo a CORI, Criminal Background check, before that are allowed to do that.

God Bless Bro Bob

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2003

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