A Word from the Bishop: Quadrennial Sexual Ethics Training

July 26, 2013

Dear Colleagues in Ministry:

The Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and I are excited to offer the upcoming quadrennial sexual ethics training this September. I am confident this seminar will broaden our understanding of how we appropriately work within our appointed areas of ministry and interact with our church members.

It is a pleasure to welcome Rev. Dr. Karen McClintock, a United Methodist elder and clinical psychologist to the Alabama-West Florida Conference. She is currently in clinical practice and adjunct professor in the psychology department at Southern Oregon University. Dr. McClintock has worked with a number of our United Methodist Conferences, each offering affirmation for her leadership and understanding of the unique challenges of clergy life.

For your convenience, three dates and locations have been arranged to accommodate your personal schedules: Saturday, September 14; Monday, September 16; and Tuesday, September 17th. Seating is limited to 200 in each setting, so if there is a specific date that is more conducive to your schedule, you may want to register immediately. These dates have been offered to ensure your participation.

You may not be aware, but in the brief time I have served as the Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, I have received eight complaints of sexual misconduct in our conference. There is one case in legal litigation at this time, and one which is being threatened. In both of these cases the minister and the local church have been named in the lawsuit for the purpose of seeking damages. For this reason, this is one of the very few offerings extended to you that is mandatory. All clergy must participate which ensures our conference, our legal counsel, and our insurance partners that all clergy have received the same information. Pastor Parish Relations Committees (PPR & SPRC) are being notified of this required attendance so they will understand your participation is required.

Dr. McClintock will speak to us about congregations at risk, clergy at risk, and how we might lower the risk of public scandals and litigation.

To register for this event, please go to awfumc.org/ethicstraining. I look forward to an educational day together in addition to a time of Christian fellowship. As always, I am grateful to you for your faithfulness and fruitfulness in all things; even the things that prepare us for a greater ministry and stronger covenant.

In Appreciation,
Paul L. Leeland
Resident Bishop