A Letter of Apology
This is an open letter of apology from the Board of Directors of the U.S. Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) to all who were victims of abuse, including those identified in the Final Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry in April 1999 and in the course of other investigations. It is the intent of the C&MA to express its deepest regrets for the significant trauma that you experienced during your most impressionable years.
When the C&MA established an independent process for reporting past abuse in 2007, it led the U.S. C&MA to investigate two cases and the C&MA in Canada to investigate one. Through this process, a number of other concerns were raised related to the policies for the education of missionary children that existed in the 1940s through 1980s. At the time, most children, beginning as young as six years of age, were required to attend a boarding school operated by either the C&MA or another mission agency. For some children, early separation from parents left deep feelings of abandonment and rejection. Many parents were likewise grieving the separation from the children they loved, while they were sharing the love of Christ with others who desperately needed to hear the message of salvation and hope.
The investigation also concluded that some school administrators, teachers and dormitory parents were not properly trained for or sensitive to the individual needs of the children with whom they were entrusted. Methods of discipline were at times harsh, humiliating, insensitive and abusive.
We, the Board of Directors of the C&MA, recognize that the policy of mandatory boarding school was hurtful to many and abusive to some, leading to a lifetime of significant pain. With sincerest remorse, we acknowledge that some MKs, now adults, suffered physical and sexual abuse, molestation and exploitation at the hands of dorm parents, teachers, peers and other missionaries.
As the responsible body, we apologize that we did not take adequate steps to prevent the specific incidences that have been confirmed in both the Final Report and the more recent investigations conducted by the C&MA.
We acknowledge and apologize to the courageous individuals who initially brought to light the reality that abuse had occurred in C&MA schools but were not given a sympathetic hearing and as a result suffered additional pain and anguish.
We acknowledge that the C&MA acted with a lack of sensitivity to missionary children by placing them in boarding schools without first considering their needs above the needs of their parents or the C&MA. We acknowledge that some individuals who served as dorm parents were not adequately trained in caring for children. We apologize that some of us in our church were complacent as our sisters and brothers in the Body of Jesus Christ suffered the loss of their innocence, had childhoods stolen, lost opportunities to enjoy more of the fullness of life that God offers all in Jesus Christ (John 10:10b) and lost a child’s ability to trust the people of the church.
We have learned over the years how some children were hurt by the physical separation from their parents and by the actions of those who were supposed to be caregivers. We are deeply sorry for the significant trauma these actions caused for those weakest and most vulnerable in our ministry—our children.
We are grateful to God for the courage of the wounded who have come forward to tell their stories and to help the C&MA purify its house and promote healing of those who have suffered abuse and deep hurt. We continue to invite others who have been abused physically or sexually to come forward. We are committed to promote healing so that each individual may be restored to God’s intended wholeness.
In closing, the C&MA Board of Directors asks your forgiveness for the pain and trauma that you suffered while under the care of C&MA dorm parents, teachers and missionaries. Our door is always open to any of you who wish to speak with us personally.
May the God of peace redeem what was meant for evil and bring glory to His Name.
Chairman, Board of Directors
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