Sun | Oct 2, 2022

Sex-scandal-hit Moravian church adopts new childcare policy

Published:Tuesday | July 25, 2017 | 8:13 PM
The Nazareth Moravian Church in Manchester to which 64-year-old Rupert Clarke was assigned. Clarke is charged with having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Damion Mitchell, Integration Editor

The sex-scandal-hit Moravian Church in Jamaica has adopted a new policy to govern the interaction of its leaders, workers and volunteers with children.

The policy was approved at the just-concluded 75th Provincial Synod held at the Bethlehem Moravian College in Malvern, St Elizabeth.

The Synod is the highest decision-making body of the Moravian Church in Jamaica.

In a release Tuesday evening, the church did not detail the provisions of the new policy and a copy could not be immediately obtained.

However, the church says the new Child Care and Protection Policy was developed based on the Child Care and Protection Act, adding that the guidelines will be supported by a programme of training and sensitisation of church leaders and staff.

The adoption of the document follows a scandal that gripped the church in the past eight months, with the arrest and charge of three senior clergy men for sexual offences involving minors.

IN PHOTO: Rupert Clarke

In the first incident, Rupert Clarke was arrested in St Elizabeth after he was allegedly caught having sex with a minor in a rural community.

Months later, the then president of the Moravian Church in Jamaica, Rev Dr Paul Gardner, and his deputy, Rev Jermaine Gibson, were arrested and charged with carnal abuse and indecent assault said to have been committed several years earlier against a young girl.

IN PHOTO: Dr Paul Gardner and Jermaine Gibson

The girl decided to come forward after Clarke's arrest.

All three clergymen are still before the courts.

In the meantime, the Rev Phyllis Smith Seymour has been elected the new President of the Moravian Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Smith Seymour had been acting in the post since January this year after Gardner resigned.

She is the first woman to be elected Moravian president in Jamaica.

Meanwhile, the synod has approved a new church executive to be led by Smith Seymour:
Rt. Rev. Devon Anglin
Rev. Dr. Kofi N’Krumah-Young
Rev. Kevin Marshall
Rev. Sacha Lambert
Bro. Lowel Morgan
Bro. Anthony Tomlinson