This Evangelical Seminary Will Require Sex Abuse Awareness Training. 16/9/2016

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At Dallas Theological Seminary, it’s now a graduation requirement
that students intending to become ministers take a short training class
in sexual abuse awareness.

“This is not exhaustive, and there is
more work that needs to be done by all of us as a culture,” Mark
Yarbrough, the school’s vice president for academic affairs, told The Dallas Morning News.
“But this is a way we can help students become informed so that when
they are leaders, they are better equipped on how to help establish
appropriate parameters in working with children.”

The one-hour “Ministry Safe” class is described
as “entry-level certificate training” by the seminary. In the spring
semester, the school plans to offer a fuller course on the subject, with
more than 40 hours of instruction on abuse prevention in ministry
settings.

Daniel
Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools,
said the offerings are unique, especially for an evangelical school.

“This
is the first I know of an evangelical seminary with a free-standing
requirement for graduation to participate in this kind of discrete
training,” he told RNS. “There are other seminaries where sexual
boundary, sexual abuse issues are part of another course or class. But
it would not be a free-standing event, as Dallas is doing.”

In
the wake of the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse crisis, many
Catholic as well as Protestant seminaries began offering training on
abuse prevention as part of ministry ethics, pastoral care, or personal
formation classes. And seminaries work with denominations on this kind
of clergy training.

But Aleshire said the nondenominational
seminary in Dallas is offering opportunities for clergy candidates who
may not be affiliated with a denomination and may lead nondenominational
congregations.

 

“That’s them being good stewards of the constituency they serve,” he said.