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Investigative Report on Abuse Complete

January 31, 2022

In May 2019, Resonate Global Mission launched a joint investigation into allegations of abuse at the Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ), one of its ministry partners.

Resonate had first become aware of the allegations of abuse in October 2018, when it received a copy of a letter that had been mailed to CAJ. In January 2019, Resonate received an additional letter outlining several allegations of abuse taking place at CAJ between 1963 and 1987. In this letter, four people were named as perpetrators of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, one of whom was a missionary with Resonate (then Christian Reformed World Missions) from 1974 to 1982.

Resonate took these allegations very seriously. At the request of the abuse survivors, Resonate initiated an investigation in partnership with CAJ and three other sponsoring agencies of CAJ: ECC-Serve Globally, The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM), and WorldVenture. They hired Telios Law and asked them to conduct a thorough, independent investigation.

This comprehensive investigation has been conducted over the past two years, and the public report from that investigation is now complete. In response to the findings of the investigation, Resonate Global Mission provided the following statement:

Scripture tells believers to walk with God in the light of truth. As the staff of Resonate Global Mission, we confess that we are guilty of walking in darkness, and that it was those who have been abused, deceived, and ignored who have shined a bright light into that darkness. We were wrong. We now desire to stand with you in that light and grieve with you. We desire to listen to you. We repent of all the sins and failings that your light has exposed.

We, as members of the body of Christ, must not only speak out against abuse within the church and its institutions but also act to ensure that the church’s future will be better than our past. It is because of this desire for healing, accountability, and redress that we have fully supported and complied with the investigation into any and all allegations of abuse at CAJ.

The investigation has documented countless disturbing reports of grievous sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse of children at CAJ. It makes clear that during this period, we as an agency employed staff who abused children, hurtfully dismissed the concerns of abused children when they were raised, and failed to swiftly address inappropriate behavior. Additionally, it is clear that many children of missionaries were made to feel that their concerns and well-being were a secondary concern to the work of mission. We acknowledge and accept the conclusions that have been made in the report, conclusions that grieve us deeply.

We want to also acknowledge the courage of the survivors of abuse who shared these horrifying experiences with investigators. We want to thank you for your willingness to speak these difficult truths. We pray for you, knowing that this is just a single step in the journey of healing. It is our hearts’ desire to shed light on these painful incidents and to learn all we can from them so that it will never happen again.

While Resonate no longer directly operates international Christian schools, as a result of these revelations we have conducted a thorough review of the policies and procedures for Resonate staff that prevent and address abuse, including the following:

  • Code of Conduct: referring to situations of abuse–approved May 2007
  • Abuse Prevention and Reporting Policy for Agencies and Educational Institutions of the Christian Reformed Church–approved by the BOT, May 2002
  • Violence in the Workplace: referring to sexual abuse–added to the Employee Handbooks in 2010
  • Annual abuse-prevention training with special modules for supervisors in reporting and compliance
  • Discrimination and Harassment Policy: covers sexual abuse
  • Whistleblower Policy: protection for those reporting illegal or dishonest activity
  • Independent “third party” reporting system available to all employees–implemented in 2021
  • New Covenant for Officebearers in the CRCNA– approved in 2012.
  • Compulsory comprehensive background checks for all employees and volunteers–begun in 2007.
  • Child Safeguarding Policy addressing the particular risk of abuse and exploitation to children by those in positions of power and trust, including international and faith-based settings. Approved for all CRCNA ministries in October 2021.

These events expose the troubling instinct of the church to protect its structures and institutions at the expense of its children. We have failed to exemplify the love and compassion of Christ and recommit ourselves to a mission of truth, trust, and humility. Resonate Global Mission is committed to continuing to work with the survivors of abuse and implementing the recommendations from the investigative report. It is our desire to do all we can to assist in the healing of those who have been abused and who continue to experience trauma as a result of these tragic events.