Banfield Memorial Case

November 28, 2022

The Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada is committed to creating and ensuring safe environments for worship, witness, and work; free from sexual misconduct. We will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form including sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and child abuse by its credentialed ministers and workers, (non-licensed) employees, contract workers, or volunteers in service to or with EMCC, its churches, institutions, agencies, organizations, or other bodies that operate under its name. The EMCC National Board has been horrified to hear about these historical evils and have directed the National Team to address these matters. 

As President of the EMCC, I sincerely apologize to all victims for not communicating sooner on the work that EMCC has been undertaking since the charges and arrest of Ray & Sandra Swash. Our silence over these past five months has contributed to further harm and for that we are deeply sorry. With our full acknowledgement that victims have been disbelieved, silenced and invalidated by church leaders in the past, we offer our support toward healing and justice.

This communication is to inform and update on EMCC’s actions and plans.

  1. After a preliminary investigation, the EMCC is launching a formal investigation into this case, led by a qualified, third-party investigator. For credibility, once that investigator has been contracted, his or her qualifications will be identified.

  2. EMCC has recently updated our website portal for victims to safely report with confidentiality to qualified third-party Victim Advocate Facilitator. Our Victim Advocate Facilitator has been assigned to simply receive your contact information and direct you either to a qualified counsellor to confidentially receive your story. We would invite victims to contact us through this portal. Complaints of sexual misconduct will be taken seriously and investigated with integrity and fairness promptly and with concern for the wellbeing of complainants and other involved parties. https://www.emcc.ca/can-we-help/report-sexual-misconduct/

    Further, we would request anyone who has information about this case to report it to us, for sake of the victims, and as part of your moral, spiritual and legal obligation. Please use the same portal and identify yourself as one has relevant information for our investigation. Our Victim Advocate Facilitator will connect you with our investigator.

  3. We have created a place on our website for all updates to be posted to keep you informed. https://www.emcc.ca/can-we-help/report-sexual-misconduct/banfield/

  4. We are setting up procedures, mechanisms and resources to support victims through grants for counselling services. These grants will be adjudicated by a third party in order to protect confidentiality and ensure equity. We are targeting early 2023 to have this in operation.

  5. We will be taking preventative steps in 2023 to require all EMCC Credential Holders (this includes licensed and ordained minister as our supervised global workers) to take sexual abuse prevention training. Further, in 2023, we are developing a Credential Holders Manual which include instructions and information on these matters.

    In 2023, we intend to strengthen reporting through the Annual Reports that are required from EMCC Credential Holders and EMCC Member Churches. EMCC is responsible for credentialing. Each local congregation is responsible to have an Abuse Prevention Policy in place and follow it.

  6. We are planning to offer a teaching session/panel on Understanding and Redeeming Authority, Power and Abuse in the Church. This will take place at our upcoming General Assembly - April 29, 2023. Details about Assembly will be available on our website.

The EMCC deeply grieves for those who have suffered harassment, misconduct or abuse from a Christian leader. As an organization, we take these matters and allegations seriously. We are committed to measures that prevent acts of sexual misconduct. We would invite victims to contact us through our web portal to connect with our Victim Advocate Facilitator to take next steps.


 

August 8, 2022

FROM THE EMCC PRESIDENT

I am deeply grieved by allegations of historical misconduct which have recently emerged against former EMCC ministry leaders, Raymond and Sandra Swash. Their misconduct is alleged to have occurred between 1987 and 1994 while they were serving directly or indirectly at Banfield Memorial Church in North York, Ontario. Mr. Swash’s credentials with EMCC ceased in 2003.

The EMCC does not condone any conduct that is contrary to how Jesus commands us to live and that causes harm to others. Our hearts are heavy as we pray for all those impacted. The York Regional Police are investigating and EMCC is committed to cooperating with authorities.

We have spent much time in prayer, earnestly seeking God’s guidance as we navigate through these challenging waters. We serve a God of grace, mercy, love, healing and forgiveness and we diligently strive to follow His ways. The EMCC is putting together a plan to support the victims of any misconduct, along with family members who may be journeying through their own challenges as they become aware of experiences their loved ones have endured. Further, EMCC is committed to developing resources for churches and proactively equipping our credential holders.

We are grateful for your prayers and ask that you continue to pray for wisdom, clarity and courage. Most of all, we ask that you pray for God’s incredible gift of healing and forgiveness to all those involved.

A confidential reporting portal has been set up on our website for any individual who may have a concern they want to share with us, in relation to this or other matters. It can be found at: Reporting Sexual Misconduct - Evangelical Missionary Church (emcc.ca).

John Cressman, President of EMCC