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Many conference sexual ethics policies are simply silent about clergy dating. district superintendents, GCSRW learned that 29% believe “it is morally OK for a single pastor to date one of his/her parishioners.” It is clear that the persons receiving, investigating and, in many cases, resolving sexual misconduct complaints are not of one mind on this issue.Clearly, a zero-tolerance policy does not reflect current attitudes of clergy and Cabinet members. The United Methodist Church must engage in a frank discussion about the morality of clergy dating within the parish. Since 1996, the denomination’s has identified the situation of a pastor engaging “in sexual contact or sexualized behavior with a congregant” as sexual abuse (“Sexual Misconduct within Ministerial Relationships,” The Book of Resolutions 2008, pp. Our understanding of appropriate boundaries in ministry has changed dramatically in the past 25 years.

Annual conference polices are not consistent on the issue.

We live in a unique time in history where 5 generations of a family work, play, and worship together.

Beyond the normal struggles with taking care of a family, people are discovering there are not always the quick and easy answers to our problems that we wish there were.

That’s what sort of got me thinking that maybe full-time ministry is where I was called to be."“They made sure that the parsonage was taken care of for me and they put some really kind and thoughtful gifts for me and for my dog in the parsonage to prepare me,” O’Hern said.

"They even had ice cream on my first Sunday, which made me happy."Carol Easton, chairwoman of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee at John Wesley, said there was hesitancy from some of the members of the congregation when they first heard that they would be getting a young female pastor to lead their worship.“There was some apprehension in the congregation of having a young female pastor at first,” Easton said.