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Agreement resolves complaint against longtime Kentucky pastor

August 1, 2005

UMNS Report
By Kevin Evers*

WILMORE, Ky. – The Rev. David A. Seamands, retired former pastor of Wilmore United Methodist Church, and a noted author, seminary professor and preacher, has publicly apologized and accepted responsibility for “a breach of trust and moral failure” involving an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Seamands read a statement to a congregation of nearly 200 people at Wilmore United Methodist Church following the July 31 worship service. He served as pastor there from 1962-84 and is professor emeritus at Asbury Theological Seminary, where he was a professor and dean of the chapel until his retirement in 1992.

His statement was the result of the supervisory response within the United Methodist Church. According to the denomination’s Book of Discipline, the process seeks to realize “justice, reconciliation and healing” when a complaint is lodged against a pastor.

As part of an agreement, Seamands will refrain from all ministerial functions and undergo a time of “penitential” prayer and discernment to further healing of all involved in the situation.

This confidential process involved Seamands, the victim, the office of Bishop James R. King Jr. and third-party facilitators.

“In response to a complaint filed against me of sexual misconduct with an adult female occurring over a number of years, I admit that I have broken my covenantal relationships and have abused the trust of those I have harmed,” Seamands told the congregation.

“I participated in a procedure initiated by the bishop as a supervisory response and required by church law of The United Methodist Church for the purpose of healing, reconciliation and just resolution. I confess my breach of trust and moral failure. I deeply regret the pain and suffering I have caused to the victim, to my family, friends and the church.

“I have sinned against the victim, the Wilmore United Methodist Church, Asbury Theological Seminary and Asbury College, the Kentucky Annual Conference, my fellow ministers, United Methodists and my God. I have also sinned against my wife and children, grandchildren and against my family heritage. One of the roots of my sin has been the sin of pride. This process has been a painful one for all involved. The process has yielded a redemptive plan of accountability that is consistent with and according to the law of The United Methodist Church.

“This plan has been arrived at through the participation of the victim, the church and trained, impartial third-party facilitators as directed by church law. I take total responsibility for the harm I have done to the victim. The ownership and responsibility for my moral failure, my breach of covenant and my abuse of power lie solely with me. I have confessed these to the victim, my family and my God and have asked for and received forgiveness.

“I have agreed to participate in the redemptive plan of accountability designed and agreed to by all affected parties. During the next year, we have agreed that I will refrain from all ministerial functions and actions and will use this year as a time of penitential prayer and discernment as to how I might further this redemptive plan of accountability and healing.”

Concluding his statement, Seamands said he was “deeply sorry.”

*Kevin Evers is communication coordinator for the Kentucky Annual Conference.

News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

 
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