Methodist pastor surrenders clergy credentials after sexual abuse allegations

The Times-Tribune, Pennsylvania/June 29, 2011

A suspended United Methodist pastor from Wayne County has formally surrendered his clergy credentials in the face of a pending church trial on allegations he sexually abused a parishioner.

Norman "Ted" Faux, a pastor of the Lake Ariel and Centenary United Methodist churches before his involuntary suspension on July 8, is "no longer a United Methodist pastor," according to a statement from Bishop Jane Allen Middleton included in a letter last week to the churches from the Rev. Beth E. Jones, superintendent of the Scranton District of the Susquehanna Conference.

Mr. Faux faced charges from the conference Committee on Investigation, including sexual abuse of a parishioner, prior to his Wayne County appointment. He also faced charges of disobedience and "behavior that undermines the ministry of another pastor" while he was on involuntary leave from the church, according to Bishop Middleton's statement.

A "Church Trial was about to begin" when Mr. Faux surrendered his clergy credentials, Bishop Middleton said.

The letter did not describe where or when Mr. Faux was serving when the alleged abuse occurred. Conference spokesman Gerald Wolgemuth said the letter will serve as the conference's only statement on the issue.

At the time of Mr. Faux's suspension last year, Mr. Wolgemuth said he was not aware of the church forwarding any complaints about the pastor to law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Faux served in many local United Methodist parishes during his career. According to biographical information about him posted on the Lake Ariel church's website at the time of his suspension last year, he had also served at the Courtdale, Waverly, Factoryville, Chinchilla and Elm Park United Methodist churches.

Mr. Wolgemuth said Tuesday that letters similar to the one sent to the Lake Ariel and Hamlin churches were sent to all United Methodist parishes where Mr. Faux served.

After his suspension, Mr. Faux became pastor of Lake Ariel Faith Fellowship, a newly founded nondenominational Christian church.

Efforts to contact Mr. Faux and the Lake Ariel Faith Fellowship were unsuccessful Tuesday.

In her letter to the Lake Ariel and Hamlin churches, the Rev. Jones wrote that Mr. Faux's surrendering of his credentials represents "the final stages of this process" and "will, I hope, begin to bring some closure to both congregations and for each of you in your personal spiritual journey."

She said the Conference Sexual Ethics response team was available at both churches on a recent Sunday and the team and the district will continue to respond to parishioners' questions and concerns.

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