Pastoral Response Team
The Diocese’s Pastoral Response Team is a group of lay and ordained men and women selected by the Bishop for their collective professional experience in the fields of pastoral care, spirituality, psychology, congregational life, law and conflict mediation. Many members of the team have been doing this work for more than 10 years.
The team can provide valuable insight, resources and plans for clergy, employees and congregations dealing with sensitive pastoral situations that require psychological, legal and/or professional counsel. These situations could include church employees, lay or ordained, or church members. It is important to note any and all allegations of misconduct by clergy are referred directly to the Bishop and members of the Diocesan Disciplinary Board, under the directives of the Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church (Title IV.)
The Pastoral Response Team has developed a process that is mutual, where all persons are honored and valued, and where Diocesan and Episcopal Church guidelines are employed to assure not only the safety and care of every human being, but also the dignity of all persons involved, either directly or indirectly.
Members of the PRT provide pastoral support to those involved or impacted by allegations of clergy misconduct but they are not involved in investigation or adjudication, which are handled by the Disciplinary Board.
The Team can bring wisdom and guidance to any congregation in situations where the normal pastoral resources of the congregation are at their limits, such as:
- when an allegation of clergy misconduct has necessitated an administrative leave during an investigation;
- after the sudden death, or disabling injury or illness of a clergy person, or a member of the clergy person’s family;
- advising a congregation when a parishioner is a convicted or accused sex offender;
assisting clergy, or wardens of a congregation without clergy, with referrals to professionals such as clinical therapists, family or marriage counselors;
- helping clergy understand and respond appropriately to unusual behavior in the congregation.
The Pastoral Response Team advises the Bishop about Safe Church Training and provides advice and guidance to congregations as they have questions about Safe Church issues for children and adults and maintaining appropriate boundaries.
CONTACT THE PASTORAL RESPONSE TEAM
Call 1-877-916-8779 at any time. (Note the updated phone number.) The diocese maintains a toll-free line where callers can leave confidential messages. Your call will be returned within 48 hours by a member of the Pastoral Response Team who can assist you in determining the next steps you would like to take. Your call will be kept confidential to the fullest extent of the law. The Rev. Robert Fruehwirth, chair of the PRT, and Canon Catherine Massey, diocesan staff coordinator of the PRT, are also available to answer questions.