Hillcrest School Nigeria Case

May 25, 2021

It is with deeply saddened hearts and disquieted spirits that we share with you a most concerning development within the life of the EMCC. On April 17, we received disturbing reports of an admission in an online forum to multiple instances of misconduct towards minors and vulnerable individuals from an individual associated with the EMCC. After appropriate due diligence, we have ascertained that James McDowell, who has served in a number of capacities within the EMCC, including as a global worker and as Associate Director of World Partners, Director of Personnel, confessed to multiple instances of misconduct against minors and vulnerable individuals. 

Our prayers are firmly with those who have suffered this misconduct and we stand united with them against any and all forms of such misconduct. Such misconduct is deeply grievous to the heart of God and stands in direct opposition to Christ’s command to minister well to the “least among us”. We affirm the biblical injunction that offense against “little ones” is of serious concern for the follower of Jesus (Luke 17:2).

We are presently working with various organizations close to this issue and local law enforcement to address these instances of misconduct in an appropriate way that ensures justice for all. Our desire is to see full restoration and accountability in this circumstance and, therefore, we are committed to praying for James and Pat, as well as, connecting with agencies with a restorative justice approach who specialize in working with abuse survivors and offenders to seek guidance and insight on steps to move forward.

We are sharing this information with you because of:

(a)  the scriptural teaching of 1 Timothy 5:19-20 (ESV), which reads “do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear”

(b)  the position of trust that James occupied within the EMCC, and most importantly,

(c)  to protect the most vulnerable among us from any further possible misconduct.

Our EMCC bylaws clearly stipulate the following as a point of covenant with each EMCC credentialed minister: I understand that as a Christian minister I am called to a life of exemplary speech and conduct. I understand that the following unbecoming conduct (not an all-inclusive list) is incompatible with Christian standards and is just cause for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from service and revocation of ministerial credentials: breach of trust or confidence, theft, fraud, lying, criminal activity, marital unfaithfulness, sexual intimacy or intercourse (either homosexual or heterosexual) before or outside of marriage (being the exclusive covenant union of one man and one woman), sexual harassment abuse or interference, substance abuse (including tobacco, alcohol or other drugs), addictive behaviour including use of materials that devalue and debase sexuality (e.g. pornography), violent or abusive behaviour or speech.

We find that James has violated this covenantal agreement and therefore for the protection of the vulnerable within the EMCC, for the preservation of the good name of the EMCC, and for the sake of our witness to Jesus Christ, we are informing you, our constituency, of this significant breach of covenant.

As a result of this, we are enacting our present policies as well as actively reviewing our policies and procedures in relation to such misconduct, to strengthen our ability to ensure the most vulnerable among us are protected. Though all of this is in a very preliminary stage, we desire to create safe spaces for conversation around issues of such misconduct and urge you to contact us at monitor@emcc.ca or to reach out to a trusted friend, if more comfortable.

We covet your prayers at this very difficult time. If you have questions or concerns, please direct them to EMCC Board of Directors member Reverend Scott Clubine, who has been named as a point person for this matter, at monitor@emcc.ca