Readers write: November 9, 2015 issue

November 4, 2015 | Viewpoints | Volume 19 Issue 22

MC Eastern Canada ‘did what was proper and called for’

Re: “Seeking redemption and peace” guest editorial by Joyce Gladwell, Sept. 28, page 2.

I am disappointed that you would give prominence to the letter you published as a guest editorial and seemingly force Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s hand to respond and disclose information that is rightly confidential.

While I am sure many people have some of those same questions, the area church, in my opinion, did what was proper and called for, not only by our denominational policies but also morally. I have worked in the field of clergy misconduct for the past 30 years, both as a prevention trainer and consultant as well as a conference minister. I am well aware of the pain such a situation causes for all concerned.

While I cannot speak directly to the case of Vernon Leis, whom I also knew and worked with during my time in Ontario, I would like to make two points that speak to all cases of misconduct:

  • We need to be clear about where the fault for our pain and anger lies. It does not lie with the victim(s), nor with MC Eastern Canada for publishing the name of the offender. Rather, it lies with anyone who violates his/her role as a pastor and engages in misconduct.
  • If we have learned anything over the years of dealing with this issue in the church, it is that we dare not keep secrets. For too long, the church sought to keep such matters secret and deal with them discreetly. In so doing, we have allowed perpetrators to continue, and victims to remain without recourse.

I want to be part of a church that deals openly and honestly with clergy misconduct when it occurs, for that is the only way to bring healing to everyone involved.

Ed Kauffman, Calgary


Coverage of Vernon Leis called ‘disrespectful’

I think it is sickening when I read all the trash in Canadian Mennonite. For the last two to three years, it was all about gay and lesbian marriage, which they want to force on us, and now the last report about Vernon Leis, a man who has been buried for 21 years and cannot defend himself (“Alleged sexual misconduct against Vernon Leis, deceased pastor,” Sept. 14, page 16.)

I think Mennonite Church Eastern Canada should be ashamed of itself. I think it was very disrespectful bringing up a subject that happened 21 years ago.

I’m 86 years old and I hope I never have to read such disrespectful headlines again.

Irvin Jantzi, Wellesley, Ont.

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The Vernon Leis alleged sexual misconduct story has brought forth much heated debate. I, for one, applaud MCEC's decision to be honest about this very complex issue. I also believe that everyone has a right to their opinion whatever it may be. However, it is possible to get one's opinions across without such caustic remarks against the Canadian Mennonite or any other writer. "They" are not forcing any ideas on readers! Being 86 years old does not give one the right to be so unkind.

If you consider it "trash," why read it? That makes as much sense as eating cheddar when you dislike cheese. For others, however, who don't dislike cheese, cheddar is a treat.

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