Office of Mission Integrity & Training
The Office of Mission Integrity and [Lay] Training promotes and sustains safe and healthy boundaries by equipping the diocese to respond to clergy misconduct and violations of clergy professional standards, overseeing appropriate background checks, and coaching parish leaders when responding to misconduct by laity. Additionally, the office facilitates educational opportunities for lay leaders with a focus on multi-cultural awareness, strengthening relationships and capacity, and safe church training.
Robin Hammeal-Urban is an attorney with work experience on cases involving housing, domestic violence and poverty. In addition to serving as pastoral response coordinator, she coordinates safe church training.
The process for disclosures of clergy sexual misconduct and pastoral response is described here. Clergy and lay persons may call her to discuss related concerns in this area.
The Episcopal Church in Connecticut
290 Pratt Street, Box 52
Meriden, CT 06450
In addition to being Canon for Mission Integrity and Training, Robin Hammeal-Urban also serves as the Pastoral Response Coordinator. Read on to learn what that entails:
Why would I ever want to call the Pastoral Response Coordinator?
(reprinted from the February 2002 clergy newsletter)
Some clergy believe that the office of pastoral response is to be avoided at all costs. After all, this is the office that receives allegations of clergy misconduct. However, the office of pastoral response does much more than that. The pastoral response coordinator (PRC) can serve in an advisory capacity to clergy who face difficult and sensitive pastoral situations.
For example, suppose a family from your congregation tells you that their child has been abused. As a legally mandated reporter you are required to report this incident to the Department of Children and Families. The PRC can answer any questions you may have about how to make this report and how to talk to the family about this report. Now imagine that the alleged perpetrator you are reporting is also a member of your parish.
This may raise concerns about how to provide pastoral care to both the child's family and the alleged perpetrator. You may have concerns about how other members of the congregation will react when they learn of the allegations and whether other children in the congregation will raise similar allegations. The PRC could assist you in developing a response plan, identifying resources, and if invited by you and your vestry, assist in providing a response for your congregation.
The PRC serves in an advisory capacity in many other situations, including:
- Inappropriate behavior by parishioners or former parishioners that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. (This might occur if a parishioner becomes overly interested in you, makes romantic overtures toward you, repeatedly follows you, calls you at odd hours, or stalks you.)
- Misconduct by a parish employee or lay leader
- Harassment of a member of your staff (paid or volunteer) by another staff member or member of the congregation
- Suspected elder abuse for which clergy are mandated reporters (elder is defined as anyone over 60 years of age)
Unfortunately, these things happen in our churches. If you find yourself facing any of these situations, you are not alone. Although there is no easy "fix," the PRC is available to assist you in exploring all of your options.