US: Longtime pastor of Baptist church in Chicago resigns after confessing he sexually abused a relative decades ago: ‘I own my sin’ - - PressFrom - US
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US Longtime pastor of Baptist church in Chicago resigns after confessing he sexually abused a relative decades ago: ‘I own my sin’

17:55  07 november  2019
17:55  07 november  2019 Source:   chicagotribune.com

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The longtime senior pastor of a Baptist church in Chicago has resigned after disclosing to the congregation that he sexually abused an underage female relative when In October 2017, Lyons “ confessed to his fellow pastors that he had engaged in sexual abuse years before,” according to an

A longtime pastor at Baptist church in Logan Square resigned after admitting to sexually abusing a minor in the ’60s. Charles Lyons, who’s been pastor Relatives of the victim then reported it in April 2018. Criminal charges have not been filed. Lyons then paid for the victim to receive counseling for

The longtime senior pastor of a Baptist church in Chicago has resigned after disclosing to the congregation that he sexually abused an underage female relative when he was a teenager.

a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Charles W. Lyons, the longtime pastor of Armitage Baptist Church in Chicago, has resigned after confessing to what he called the sexual abuse of a relative when he was a teenager. He's pictured here in 2003.© STACEY WESCOTT / CHICAGO TRIBUNE/Chicago Tribune/TNS Charles W. Lyons, the longtime pastor of Armitage Baptist Church in Chicago, has resigned after confessing to what he called the sexual abuse of a relative when he was a teenager. He's pictured here in 2003.

Charles W. Lyons, 68, told the Tribune on Wednesday that he left his role at Armitage Baptist Church in Logan Square on July 31, ending a 45-year career leading the Northwest Side congregation. Criminal charges have not been filed in connection with the conduct.

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CHICAGO - The pastor of a Chicago church has resigned after revealing he sexually abused an underage female relative when he was a teenager. The Chicago Tribune reports The Rev. Charles W. Lyons left his post at Armitage Baptist Church after 45 years leading the congregation.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A longtime pastor in Logan Square has stepped has resigned from Armitage Baptist Church . The Associated Press reported the sexual abuse was committed when Lyons was a teenager He resigned in July. An Armitage Baptist minister, Leandro Gomez, said church leaders

a group of people wearing military uniforms: Charles W. Lyons, the longtime pastor of Armitage Baptist Church in Chicago, has resigned after confessing to what he called the sexual abuse of a relative when he was a teenager. He's pictured here in 2007, presiding over a gathering to memorialize a slain teen.© Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Charles W. Lyons, the longtime pastor of Armitage Baptist Church in Chicago, has resigned after confessing to what he called the sexual abuse of a relative when he was a teenager. He's pictured here in 2007, presiding over a gathering to memorialize a slain teen.

“I own my sin as sexual abuse,” Lyons said. “It’s awful. It’s ugly. It’s terrible. I would give 10 lifetimes to erase it. My heart to this day grieves for the victim, and now many others who have been impacted by this.”

More than two years have passed since church leaders first learned about the abuse. Lyons said the conduct was not an automatically “disqualifying” offense.

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“It had nothing to do with my ministry, my ordination, my service as a pastor for half a century, so there was nothing to immediately act upon,” he said.

In October 2017, Lyons “confessed to his fellow pastors that he had engaged in sexual abuse years before,” according to an emailed statement from Leandro Gomez, a pastor at Armitage Baptist.

Family members of the victim contacted the church in April 2018, Gomez said, and the pastoral team launched a formal inquiry into the matter.

The church placed Lyons on a leave of absence starting in October 2018, Gomez said. During that time, church leaders made contact with the victim, consulted with legal experts and conducted interviews to ensure that abuse had not occurred with congregants, Gomez said.

Leaders also worked with Lyons in “facilitating financial resources to provide therapeutic care to the victim and to seek professional help for himself,” Gomez said.

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In a statement posted to its website Wednesday, the church characterized Lyons’ resignation as “multifaceted and largely spurred by unresolved concerns regarding his leadership over the years and the ramifications of sexual abuse committed years before he became a pastor."

“We acknowledge the pain that many people have felt throughout this process, and we continue to pray for all the parties involved, trusting in the healing and restorative power of God,” the church’s online statement said.

The leader of the Illinois Baptist State Association, an organization of Baptist churches, said he only learned about the resignation last week, even though it has been effective since July.

Nate Adams, executive director of the organization, said that while IBSA has no authority or disciplinary power over member churches, the group posted information about the situation to its website in order to be transparent.

“There were some social media and e-mail reports of the circumstances surrounding his resignation,” Adams said in an email Wednesday. “IBSA fact-checked those circumstances with the church’s pastoral staff before posting our report.”

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Lyons led Armitage Baptist, a multicultural congregation of about 400 members, from 1974 until his resignation this summer. In that role, he’s railed against gang violence that has affected his community, and spoken out against abortion and gay marriage.

Lyons said he remains in touch with the relative he abused and has apologized. He said he decided to inform his pastoral team about the situation around the time family members started discussing it again.

“I preferred that people hear it from me and not others, so I shared it with the church leadership, and I shared it with the congregation," Lyons said.

Speaking by phone Wednesday, Lyons defended his tenure at Armitage Baptist, saying he has never been accused of sexual or financial misconduct during his career as a pastor.

Lyons said he continues to attend Armitage Baptist as a congregant. He said he resigned because it was in the best interest of the church and because discussions were already underway to select a new head pastor.

“The world has changed with ‘Me Too.’ Our culture is different. People’s perspectives have shifted significantly. People have a heightened awareness and sensitivity to anything deemed sexually inappropriate .... and anything that might fall in an abuse category," he said.

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