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Committee identified to probe allegations against Moravian ministers

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2017 | 1:47 AM

The acting president of the Moravian Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands Reverend Phyllis Smith says the members of an independent committee have now been identified to probe complaints against two senior ministers.

The President Dr Paul Gardner and Vice-President Jermaine Gibson resigned last week after the complaints were made in a seven-page email containing damning allegations against them.

The independent committee is to be mutually agreed by the complainant and the bishops of the Moravian Church.

The acting church president Reverend Phyllis Smith Seymour says the invitations to the prospective committee members are now being dispatched and she is hoping they can complete their deliberations and make their recommendation by April 17.

That’s when the Moravian Synod – the highest decision-making body of the church – will meet.

 

Acting president of the Moravian Church in Jamaica, Reverend Phyllis Smith-Seymour

Speaking on RJR’s Beyond the Headlines, Reverend Smith Seymour said the church executive has brought forward a February meeting to next week to decide on the terms of reference for the committee.

The meeting will also determine how to establish a system to accept any other possible complaints against Moravian ministers.

 

Acting president of the Moravian Church in Jamaica, Reverend Phyllis Smith-Seymour

Reverend Smith Seymour says she is aware of certain comments about members of the clergy, but she says people with complaints must make them formally so that they can be investigated.

 

Acting president of the Moravian Church in Jamaica, Reverend Phyllis Smith-Seymour

In recent weeks, the Moravian church has been at the centre of a sex scandal.

It began with the December 28 arrest of the Reverend Rupert Clarke, now before the court on a charge of having sex with a minor.

Last week, it took another twist when Gardner and Gibson resigned after a complainant filed a seven-page email making grave allegations against them.