Your story ("Texas suit raises more questions," June, page 48) made visible the complexity of the ELCA candidacy and call processes and the high risk for abuse that results from a breakdown in the system. Effective communication and hands-on getting-to-know the candidate among supervisors, seminaries and synods are critical during the candidate's theological training. The emphasis during the processes needs to be on screening out unhealthy individuals as well as on identifying gifts for ministry and the readiness of the candidate. Perhaps the processes might include: requiring background checks; restructuring official candidacy interviews to include people who can personally vouch for the integrity, moral character and readiness of the candidate — people who have personally known the candidate for an extended period of time; creating a database that includes software to note who has contributed to or changed data and when; maintaining clear and consistent guidelines for committees, advisers, supervisors and synods, including a process for reporting allegations of misconduct; establishing opportunities to name a concern and for the candidate to respond; maintaining ongoing communication between the candidate and church authority; and keeping transparency in the processes with information readily available to those who need it.
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