When a pastor and his wife take in a vulnerable young woman (in this case no longer a minor), and that pastor begins to coerce, seduce and molest, something has gone pretty far off the rails. When he then suggests she sells her body for sex, pays her to sext him, suggests a threesome, and the like, and continues in leadership (Mission board) – and other pastors and leaders have knowledge of it, that is a much bigger problem.
We are not talking an affair with two people of similar age and power – which, when a person is a pastor and given revered status is really not possible anyway. We are talking about a married man – a pastor at that – with a family, and young women with difficult stories and situations who look to that pastor for guidance and protection, not seduction and to be sold or bought for sexual thrills.
Someone reached out to me just over a year ago, in May 2018, concerned and stating they have evidence of Matthews’ indiscretions. That was all I knew until a blog was sent to me Sunday August 18, 2019, with survivor stories.
The story is a tragic blend of an abuser coercing, manipulating and sexually assaulting. It is a story of being told ‘no’ and not respecting the ‘no’.
My concern is that a pastor does any of these things in the first place, and then continues in religious leadership with influence over minors and the vulnerable. Allegedly he was in a Charity-type church. Not Charity, they said, but similar. I do not know which state. Allegedly at least one or several leaders at the church confronted Matthews. Sources say he was removed him from leadership.
Matthews relocated within weeks, in fall of 2015, and started serving on a mission board fall of 2017 with another Anabaptist church affiliated with Biblical Mennonite Alliance (BMA) group. (I say “affiliated with” because I am not particularly familiar with them, or how intertwined they are from region to region). He was later removed from the board.
As a parent, this mess is something I would want to know if my children were going to be under his leadership. Well, they wouldn’t be under that kind of leadership, if I could help it… and I’d want to know to make sure of that!
A gentleman I spoke with, involved with the case early on, offered the following timelines of church involvement:
Fall 2015: Matthews was confronted by his leaders and removed from leadership
Fall 2015: Matthews moved abruptly within weeks of being confronted
Fall 2017: Matthews was placed on the Mission Board. (His church had believed he had an affair between consenting adults).
Fall 2018: Matthews was released of duties when more information came forward regarding his sexual abuses.
⚠️ Please note the trigger warning if you choose to read the blog in which several stories are shared: Grace Unashamed ⚠️
PLEASE NOTE: Given the public outcry over me sharing the blog link originally without asking, the blog owner has given me permission to share her blog.
In other, more pleasant news, we are doing a training and conference in Dayton Virginia, October 9-12, 2019. Would love to have you join us!
To read a recent 5-part series addressing victim healing and forgiveness for offenders, click: HERE.
~ T ~
© Trudy Metzger 2019
ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR
Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters
JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here
NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect
November 2, 2019: THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief. It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and heal another layer, together.
NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.
Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.
NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.
If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.