The Advisory Panel Process, approved by the CRC’s Synod, is recommended when an adult brings an allegation against someone in a leadership position in the CRC. This process allows churches to take allegations of misconduct seriously, and when harm has been done, to respond with justice, compassion and accountability. In this process, a panel of trained Safe Church Team members is formed to hear testimony from the one bringing the allegation.
“The way an allegation of misconduct is handled by the church greatly determines whether people are re-victimized or helped to heal,” explains the resource. “It’s important to remember that the church holds tremendous power in its hands, which can either be a catalyst for healing and restoration, or for increased hurt and dissention.” To that end, the handbook is designed to help church council members understand their role in providing an effective response to allegations of misconduct against a church leader using the Advisory Panel Process. It covers topics such as:
- What can happen in the church when there is an allegation of misconduct against a church leader?
- How does the advisory panel process work?
- Steps in the process
- Restorative justice practices
“It is our hope and prayer that this handbook will give those who read it a greater understanding of the Advisory Panel Process for responding to church leader misconduct,” explains Bonnie Nicholas, Director of the CRC’s Safe Church Ministry.
“The Office of Safe Church Ministry exists to be a resource for churches," says Bonnie. "Don’t hesitate to contact the office with questions and for additional information. Thank you for responding to the call to leadership in your congregation. And thank you for reading this handbook about your role in responding to church leader misconduct.”