Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Moravian president explains why synod was postponed

Published:Monday | February 27, 2017 | 2:17 AM

The scandal-hit Moravian Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands has postponed its biennial Synod that was scheduled for April.

The acting president of the Moravian church Reverend Phyllis Smith Seymour has conceded that the recent incidents involving allegations of sex crimes involving  three senior ministers were part of the reasons.

However, according to Reverend Smith Seymour, the church also became distracted and would not be able to adequately prepare all the necessary reports, for example, ahead of the synod, the highest decision-making body of the Moravian Church in Jamaica.

As a result, she says the one-week meeting has now been pushed back to July.

In January, former Moravian Church president Dr Paul Gardner told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre that the province may have to review how it handles pastors accused of sex crimes.

However, he said some of those issues may require Synod approval.

Gardner was speaking after 64-year-old Moravian pastor Rupert Clarke was arrested and charged with having sex with a minor.

The church president and Jermaine Gibson, his deputy at the time, later resigned after they too were accused of sexual misconduct involving a minor.

Meanwhile, Reverend Smith-Seymour has confirmed that the chairman of the Unity board of the international Moravian Church and another top Moravian official from Europe recently visited Jamaica.

She said they were here to support hurting church members amid the sex scandal involving the three senior ministers.