Providing accountability is a faithful act of care and concern. We acknowledge that principle as we consider perpetrators of sexual misconduct.
God creates all of us in love. Abuse violates that love. Where there is abuse, we try to seek restorative justice and healing.
We assert that faithful song is antidote to fear. As people of hope we claim the uplifting capacity of sacred music, even as we recognize that the power of the sung word in worship can be intense and has the potential to heal or to destroy. Acknowledging the power of music, we seek strength and healing from it. We also carefully choose the repertoire to which we give our voice—and our endorsement.
This statement draws upon the theological statement in the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy and Procedures of United Church of Canada:
God intends for all life freedom from abuse and injustice; God desires for all human beings, created in God’s image, mutual respect, care, protection, and empowerment.
Recognizing that sexual misconduct occurs when one uses one’s power to take advantage of the vulnerability of another and recognizing that it is a violation of both individuals and the community, we affirm God’s call to the church to be a transforming presence by promoting right relationship within its midst and in the world, in the name of the One who is our judge and our hope.
It is our responsibility as church in order to maintain the integrity of the church to call to account anyone who uses their position to harm or exploit another. Such a person should not be allowed to represent our church in leadership or to use their status to gain access to vulnerable people.
We are committed to the creation of safe environments for work, witness, and worship. The church will not tolerate sexual violence, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of any kind, to any person. All people have the right to an environment that is free of sexual misconduct, harassment, or innuendo, including of that person’s ethnicity, religion, ability or disability, physical appearance, gender, or sexual orientation.
In singing together we affirm that in all of us is the image of God, and we uphold the expectation that all God’s people will be treated with respect. Genesis records the creation of humankind in God’s own image, and the Psalmist offers praise for having been formed, “fearfully and wonderfully,” by God. Jesus echoed Jewish teaching in preaching to his followers, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.” The United Church of Canada endeavours to live out these calls to just relationships whenever we gather to sing and worship.
Policy Regarding the Use of Creative Work by Perpetrators of Sexual Misconduct
In our resources including Then Let Us Sing! the Sing 2025 Project Committee will not knowingly publish works produced by perpetrators of sexual violence, sexual harassment, or sexual abuse. We do not wish to cause further suffering to those who are survivors. We are in solidarity with survivors.
In affirming that statement, we take heart in A Song of Faith:
We sing of the Creator who made humans to live and move and have their being in God. In and with God, we can direct our lives toward right relationship with each other and with God. We can discover our place as one strand within the web of life. We can grow in wisdom and compassion. We can recognize all people as kin. We can accept our mortality and finitude, not as a curse, but as a challenge to make our lives and choices matter.
May faithful song as antidote to fear sustain and encourage our relationships with one another and with the Divine.
Sexual violence is any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work. (Source: World Health Organization, World Report on Violence and Health)
Sexual harassment is behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation. (Source: Oxford Dictionary)
Sexual abuse is self-gratification by exploitation. It makes an impersonal object of the other person, abusing both the person and sexuality itself. (Source: Lambeth Conference Report, 1988)