The Church and Clergy Sexual Misconduct

If you’ve been following church news in Canada, you already know that the pastor of one of the country’s largest mega-churches was investigated for sexual misconduct and forced to resign from his church. More allegations have surfaced, and last week Bruxy Cavey was arrested and charged with sexual assault.

Allegations against Cavey were first reported to The Meeting House at the end of November. The Overseers Board responded by placing him on leave while they engaged an independent third-party investigation. In March, a Church Family Update reported on the investigation’s conclusion: that Bruxy had a sexual relationship with a woman for an extended period of time that  “constituted an abuse of Bruxy’s power and authority as a member of the clergy, and amounted to sexual harassment.” The Board was unanimous in asking for his resignation.

Even before the church’s official statement, teaching pastor Danielle Strickland submitted her resignation “in solidarity with the victim of abuse.” After The Meeting House held a Town Hall to share the findings of the investigation with the congregation, the unnamed victim issued her own statement, Hagar’s Voice.  The Meeting House has since held a series of community gatherings that have also been live-streamed. The church has engaged a third-party victim advocate to independently and confidentially receive any concerns or allegations of sexual misconduct (including sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or abuse of power or authority) by a pastor, staff member, or lay leader within The Meeting House, whether current or historical.”

The story of Bruxy Cavey and The Meeting House isn’t over yet, and neither is the larger issue of clergy sexual misconduct and the church. What can we learn from this? How can we do better? Here are a few links that help me wrestle with these questions, and I hope will also be helpful to you.

Ontario’s Most Influential Pastor Resigns Following Abuse Investigation
Kate Shellnutt, Christianity Today

“In Ontario, you’d struggle to find an evangelical Christian who hadn’t heard of The Meeting House and Bruxy Cavey … virtually everybody knows who he is and had tremendous respect for him,” said Robin Wallar, lead pastor at Lift Church in Hamilton. “It’s hard to know the immediate impact [of the recent revelations], but it’s generally pretty devastating to the church in Canada.”

Herald Press Pulls Bruxy Cavey Books
MennoMedia press release

Like The Meeting House, we at MennoMedia also stand against sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and the abuse of power and authority. Given that The Meeting House asked Cavey to resign and removed all his teaching videos from their website and the Be In Christ denomination revoked his credentials for ministry, we at Herald Press cannot in good faith sell his books.

Are Celebrity Pastors the Problem?
Stephen J. Bedard

Is the problem the fact that we have celebrity pastors? Is it the moment that a pastor or Christian leader becomes a brand to be promoted that things have gone bad?

Like many such questions, the answer is no and yes.

How Churches Should—and Shouldn’t Respond to Clergy Sexual Abuse
The Better Samaritan Podcast with special guest Danielle Strickland

Danielle gives a final exhortation to church leaders: center Jesus by centering the people he did. That’s always the oppressed. If there comes a time when it’s necessary to choose between protecting the reputation of a particular church and protecting a survivor, choose the survivor. That’s what Jesus did.


For more encouragement and resources on doing ministry better:

Author: April Yamasaki

I currently serve as resident author with a liturgical worship community, write online and in print publications, and often speak in churches and other settings. Publications include On the Way with Jesus, Four Gifts, Sacred Pauses, and other books on Christian living. Websites: and

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