The Acting President of the Moravian Church in Jamaica, the Reverend Phyllis Smith-Seymour, says the church has been bracing for the arrest of its former President, Reverend Dr. Paul Gardner and former Vice President, Reverend Jermaine Gibson.
Reverend Smith-Seymour spoke this afternoon with Nationwide News shortly after word of their arrest broke.
Reverend Smith Seymour says the arrest of the two senior Moravian clergymen has left the church uncomfortable.
The Moravian Church was to have its own enquiry into the allegations made by a female member against the two pastors.
Reverend Smith-Seymour says that committee to investigate the matter will still be set up.
She says its precise functions will be decided at the Church’s next Elders’ Conference on Wednesday.
The sex scandal devastating the Moravian church has now seen three of its most senior leaders arrested and charged with sexual offences.
The arrests of Gibson and Gardner were preceded by the arrest of Reverend Rupert Clarke.
He’s charged for the alleged carnal abuse of a 15-year-old girl in December last year.
Reverend Smith-Seymour says despite what’s been circulating on social media no more victims have come forth.
However, she’s urging anyone who’s been abused by a member of the church to come forward.
Both Gardner and Gibson are to appear before the Manchester Parish Court next week.
Mrs. Smith Seymour says their pastoral duties will be covered by other members of the church in the meantime. She says the Church is committed to its congregation and the people of Jamaica.
The Jamaica Council of Churches says it’s not shocked at the charges against Reverend Dr. Paul Gardner and Reverend Jermaine Gibson.
Reverend Gary Harriott is General Secretary of the Jamaica Council of Churches.
He says the sex scandal rocking the Moravian Church has forced many other churches to change some of their policies.
Reverend Harriott says this includes opening their doors to those who may be hurting by the mounting allegations of sexual misconduct.
He says it’s possible that the names of other ministers of religion will be called in relation to alleged sex crimes.
Reverend Harriott is encouraging ministers who’ve committed such acts in the past, and have kept them hidden, to seek counselling.