The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) conducts sexual ethics trainings throughout the United States, educating clergy and laity on the dangers of misusing power, stressing the importance of boundaries in ministerial relationships, and equipping annual conference leadership to have a Response Team in place to handle cases of sexual misconduct.
Thanks to a grant from the Connectional Table, GCSRW was able to bring these trainings to Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia late February of 2017.
“Until now, GCSRW has not had the opportunity to provide training for prevention and response to sexual misconduct in Central Conferences,” Becky Posey Williams, senior director of education and leadership said. “We are grateful to Rev. Kalamba Kilumba for working with us on the development of a curriculum and the presentation of the materials in Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia.”
With any of these sexual ethics trainings, the bishop in the annual conference sets the tone. Bishop Joaquina Nhanala and Bishop Katembo Kainda extended the invitation to Williams and Kilumba to develop the curriculum and come train clergy. Williams stated that, “’Bishop Nhanala is one of the most humble and kind leaders I know, and I thank her for inviting us here to come and do a training.” Not only did Bishop Nhanala invite GCSRW to lead trainings, she also attended the trainings alongside her clergy.
Williams and Kilumba traveled to Northern Mozambique, Southern Mozambique, Durban, South Africa, and Ndola, Zambia to conduct the two day training in sexual ethics and response team trainings for local clergy. The goal of the first day was to train and equip clergy with resources regarding sexual ethics and boundaries so that they could take and train other clergy at a future date. Day two provided training to participants in the development of a response team to be used for healing with congregations and staff following incidences of sexual misconduct in the Church.
Rev. Mills Maliwa, the assistant to the Bishop, gave words of appreciation to the facilitators. “It was such a powerful training. We learned a lot from it and I promise at the end of this training, our conference will organize meetings that will appoint leaders who are going to train other church members from the local church to the district level.”
“The UMC names sexual misconduct as a chargeable offense in The Book of Discipline,” Williams stated. “It also clearly states a process for responding to a formal complaint of misconduct. It is crucial that every pastor throughout the denomination understand behaviors that violate boundaries and constitute sexual misconduct.”
Williams has been invited by Rev. Samuel Aguilar, Bishop of the Methodist Church of Peru to train clergy in the Peru Methodist Church. The training will take place in August and will be offered in three locations throughout the country.