April 21, 2005
Bishop Marshall Meadors Jr.
By Elliott Wright*
YORK (UMNS)—A retired United Methodist bishop and two professors in the
field of medical care make up an independent panel that will receive
and assess reports on alleged child abuse at a denominational mission
facility in Africa a generation ago.
The United Methodist
Board of Global Ministries also is drafting guidelines on child and
sexual abuse for all of its employees and mission personnel, based upon a
policy adopted in mid-April by the board’s directors.
Marshall “Jack” Meadors, who has a background in justice issues, will
serve as chairman of the Independent Panel for Review of Child Abuse in
Mission Settings. He was named by the mission board’s president and
chief executive officer. The focus is on alleged incidents more than 20
years ago at a youth hostel in what is today the Democratic Republic of
bishop’s two colleagues are Dr. Edith Fresh, an expert in child abuse
issues and teacher at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, and the
Rev. Jim Evinger, a Presbyterian clergyman teaching clinical nursing at
the University of Rochester in New York. Evinger assisted the
Presbyterian Church USA a year ago in an independent investigation of
alleged child abuse at the Methodist-Presbyterian Hostel in Kinshasa.
was during that investigation that information surfaced suggesting
Methodist students or personnel may have been involved in situations of
abuse. Directors of the mission agency approved the United Methodist
independent panel last October.
people were nominated for service on the new panel, according to Bishop
Joel N. Martinez of San Antonio, board president. Martinez and the Rev.
R. Randy Day, chief executive, selected the panel members.
The panel, which had its first meeting in February, will report to Board of Global Ministries directors annually.
addition to the three members, Cecelia Long, a former top staff
executive of the denomination’s Commission on the Status and Role of
Women, will be a resource person to the panel and will receive all
reports intended for review.
wanting to convey information to the independent panel should contact
Long by letter or e-mail. The mailing address is Cecilia Long, 48 Mound
St., Dayton, OH 45402-8319. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
is extremely important that those with any relevant information
directly contact the independent panel, not staff of the General Board
of Global Ministries,” Day said. “This is indeed an independent panel
and must be kept that way. We are extremely pleased that persons of the
caliber of Bishop Meadors, Dr. Fresh, Mr. Evinger and Ms. Long have
agreed to do this sensitive and important work.”
April, board directors adopted a general child and sexual abuse policy
that will guide the agency’s units in applying the declaration that
“child abuse is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The policy
defined “child abuse” as “the physical or mental injury, sexual abuse,
or exploitation, negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by any
policy will apply but not be limited to the “recruiting and screening
of all employees and mission personnel” of the board. Procedures are
expected to be in place by March 2006.
*Wright is the public information officer for the Board of Global Ministries.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.