Friday only has one delegate session. It started with singing of “God is Love", and a well-delivered warning about being sensitive through the difficult discussions that would follow.

There was an introduction to the Churchwide Statement on Sexual Abuse, and also a point of order from the floor. Since this item did not have “Resolution" at the top, nor have “Resolution" before the bullet points (which most of the others did), there was a question to clarify what was the actual resolution. It was clarified that the statement of the first two pages was the resolution. It was also clarified that the appendices were supplemental material and not a formal part of the resolution.

We had silent prayer, table discussions, and microphone sharing. There was overwhelming support for the resolution, and powerful and vulnerable sharing from victims. There were a number of requests for parts that could be enhanced, including:
  • making sure that the comments around self-care and manageable workloads of pastors does not come across as excusing of behavior or blaming of victims (the committee putting forward the resolution confirmed it was not intended that way, but rather pointing to their vulnerability, frequent lack of supervision, great power, great authority, and frequent intimate settings)
  • that we add listening to the truth to telling it
  • that we need to be concerned not just for women and children that are victims, but men, too
  • how we challenge and care for perpetrators
  • that we get more clarity on what “wholesome sexuality" is intended to mean
  • that the disenfranchisement of LGBTQ persons be addressed directly in the document (and not just in the appendix)
  • that domestic abuse be explicitly included in the resolution
There were also requests to name and share information about known perpetrators.

In light of the requests for enhancements, there was a motion on the floor to send the document back to committee to be brought back the next day. During discussion of this, there was also a comment from the microphone that the statement be re-evaluated on a periodic basis and brought-up-to-date. The committee was asked if they had time to review and complete changes before the next delegate session, and they replied that they could not have a new version ready in that time frame.

A vote was taken on the sending it back to committee. There were ~10 that voted to send it to committee, ~25 that abstained, and the rest did not want to send it back to committee. We then moved on to voting for the resolution itself. There were 3 against the resolution, 5 abstaining, and the remaining delegation (>800) voted to affirm the resolution.

We followed with a powerful litany of repentance & grace and a hymn.

The executive board was asked to stay after, because they had some new resolutions that needed to be examined prior to the session on the next day.

The session was ended with a presentation from Alan Hirsch.