This document has as its focus the congregations wounded by pastoral sexual abuse. The hope of the author is that in the future this material will be published. That hope, has led to the adoption of a format for thesis preparation that contains a book manuscript. The author is aware that substantial modifications of the manuscript will need to be made if this document is to be commercially acceptable for publishing. We have attempted to write this in such a manner that it will meet the necessary format for his degree work and yet will provide a ready-for-use document for the church to use with laity in an unpublished format. There will be some usage of first person conversation to make this document valuable, since part of the value of this document is my personal journey.
The primary usage, intended for the document, has colored how we put the material together. I envision synodical officials and other denominational leaders, placing this in the hands of congregations, soon after the disclosure of the sexual misconduct. It is hoped that leaders and afterpastors will read this and face their natural tendencies that are often very unhealthy. We hope that pastors serving these wounded congregations and the leadership team of laity will be challenged to begin to overcome hopelessness and denial. We hope that congregations will use it in making plans to bring health to their congregation.
Because it is impossible to sheds one’s bias, this material contains the author’s specific denominational heritage. Being a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, our synodical understanding of doctrines undergird this presentation. You will, for example, discover that masculine pronouns will be consistently used in reference to pastors. This is used not only because of the “males only” pastoral policy of our synod, but also due to the factor that not one source, examined in the research, seriously addressed female clergy’s abuse. A severe bias, also apparent, is the sympathy that the author has for the abused, over against what he considers the excessive compassion that the church has shown for the offending pastors. This is not attempted to be moderated, since another bias is that the church has sinned greatly against the victims, especially the secondary victims – the congregations by ignoring congregations and their leaders.