It starts with prayer.
Christ Community Chapel pastor Joe Coffey asked his congregation that numbers in the thousands to pray over the details of an internal investigation over allegations of abuse against a former preacher and staff at an orphanage the church supported in the Philippines.
The Hudson church hosted a membership meeting Sunday afternoon to discuss the report and contemplate further action.
"It's important for us to share what we have," he told those gathered at the 10 a.m. service.
Christ Community Chapel (CCC), which also has churches in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood and Aurora, averages 4,000 attendees a week.
Coffey said the 27-page report based on a review by Suzanne Lewis-Johnson, a CCC member and former FBI agent, was completed Tuesday. The allegations of abuse of children at the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in Lucena, Philippines, first came to light when it was raided by authorities in 2014.
The report concluded among other things that allegations of sexual abuse by staff at the orphanage were likely true and Tom Randall, who was a minister at the Hudson church, was not forthcoming about the allegations. In addition, it found that money was still sent overseas for the legal defense of Randall and two other men long after charges were brought by the Philippine government.
Anger about the handling of the case has simmered over the years, with some churchgoers demanding leadership be more forthcoming about what transpired.
Sarah Klingler, who was among those demanding accountability, said a planned protest for Sunday morning was called off so she and others can digest the report.
Randall, a missionary who traveled the U.S. and the world for more than 30 years, has not spoken publicly about the report and quit CCC after church elders sought his resignation June 3 over “a clear violation of pastoral ethics.”
Coffey, for his part, said he believed Randall's account of what transpired and did not fully investigate the matter on his own.
He asked churchgoers Sunday to pray for healing during these difficult days not only for the church but the nation as it comes to grip with deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton.
"The brokenness of this world is staggering sometimes," he said. "…We pray that you help us participate in that healing."
Craig Webb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.