Statement by Bishop Keith Elford,
The Free Methodist Church in Canada
regarding Criminal Charges against Rev. Kris Gowdy
The Free Methodist Church in Canada and its member congregations were shocked and deeply grieved to learn through media reports of the recent criminal charges brought against Rev. Kris Gowdy.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are committed to seek justice, love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. We wish to affirm our desire for truth and justice to be known and served. We want our congregations and communities to be safe and healthy places for all ages. This is why we insist that all congregations have child and youth protection plans in place. Our congregations have been asked to use the “Plan to Protect” program provided by Winning Kids Inc.
The Free Methodist Church in Canada and its member congregations have zero tolerance for any activity related to sexual abuse. Any complaints of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of minors are to be reported to the police immediately.
We are deeply troubled by the allegations that have been brought against Rev. Gowdy. Prior to the present alleged incident, the Free Methodist Church in Canada has not received any complaints (or even rumours) regarding inappropriate behaviour of any kind by Rev. Gowdy. We do understand that this case will come to the Canadian justice system. The Free Methodist Church in Canada and the leaders of our congregations are committed to cooperate fully with any investigations by the police.
The Free Methodist Church in Canada and its member congregations are deeply saddened by the devastating repercussions that result from allegations of this nature. Provisions for individuals, parents and families to talk with counselors have already been made by the leaders of the local churches where Rev. Gowdy has served.
Finally, we draw your attention to an error in several media reports. Rev. Gowdy was a former pastor at Trulls Road Free Methodist Church in Courtice, ON from 2005-2009. He left that congregation to pastor a congregation in Kingston, Ontario and has not lived in the Courtice area since August 2009. The alleged incident occurred when he was visiting in the area recently.
Follow up questions related to this statement may be sent to Bishop Elford – click here to contact.