Grants support MC USA internships, pastoral misconduct investigations

Schowalter Foundation Schowalter Foundation

The Schowalter Foundation has awarded two grants to the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board — $15,000 for internships and $30,000 to support investigations of pastoral misconduct and abuse.

The first grant will fund internships that “fell by the wayside” due to budget cuts, a denominational news release stated.

The Executive Board staff plans to hire two interns to work part time for a year. They are exploring where to place the interns. Peace and justice work and the archives are among the possibilities.

The second grant supports the denomination’s commitment, expressed in a 2015 delegate assembly statement, to “tell the truth about sexual abuse” and “hold abusers accountable.”

When cases of pastoral misconduct and abuse arise, the MC USA Church Vitality office provides leadership and hires investigators when needed. These cases can be expensive, and the number of cases is unpredictable. MC USA will place the grant in an account to use as needed.

“In both the church and society, we have had a huge wake-up call in the last several years to the abuse that takes place in our churches and various church settings,” said Iris de León-Hartshorn, associate executive director of operations and director of human resources for MC USA. “We have wonderful, capable people in our church who are leading training and investigations, but all of this takes resources. This grant will help us continue to provide the best possible support and training and allow us to be comprehensive in our work in this area.”

Begun in 1954, the Schowalter Founda­tion supports programs connected to Men­nonite denominations.

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