The Presbyterian Church in America’s (PCA) highest ecclesiastical court is taking over a case allegedly mishandled by an Indiana presbytery, a letter from the presbytery shows. The case surrounds a former Indiana pastor accused of sexually harassing multiple women.
The move comes after an unprecedented number of other PCA presbyteries claimed the pastor’s presbytery botched the matter. The other presbyteries have formally asked the PCA’s high court, the Standing Judicial Commission, to take jurisdiction away from the pastor’s presbytery.
Dan Herron, the former pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Indiana, will now face an ecclesiastical trial before the high court, according to a June 3 letter authored by the Central Indiana Presbytery (CIP) and obtained by The Roys Report (TRR).
TRR previously reported that two women accuse Herron of grooming church members and students of nearby Indiana University. One of the women, Kara Million, has said at least 10 people have accused Herron of abusing them. Read more»
Sarah Einselen | “Presbyterian Pastor Who Sued for Accusers’ Silence to be Tried in Denomination’s Highest Court” | June 13, 2022
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Question: has the PCA SJC issued a statement to the effect that this case has been taken up? I’m not aware of such. Unless/until, these requests for “original jurisdiction” (BCO 34-1 overtures) will only be received by the PCA GA ( next week), then assigned to the SJC, who will then take up the question (later in the summer, early fall) as to whether to take up the requests. Only then will actual proceedings to potential trial occur.
All I know is what is in the story.
Reedhere: If the article is accurate (and I assume it is) it appears that the SJC has preempted the overture process and has agreed to assume original jurisdiction. I don’t know all the specifics of this case but it could be that these presbyteries petitioned the SJC directly and either got no action or were turned down. The only avenue left to them would have been the overture process. This case has been an embarrassment to the PCA and with three presbyteries making overtures to the GA, the SJC may have seen the handwriting on the wall and assumed original jurisdiction rather than being ordered to by the GA.
This case was the subject of three overtures to this year’s GA. The overtures have been rendered moot by the SJC’ action. In the case of Greg Johnson, presbyteries have directly petitioned the SJC to assume original jurisdiction but it never has. These presbyteries now have overtures this year asking the GA to assume original jurisdiction. I have seen speculation that the GA will likely refer the case to the SJC which is what was requested in the first place.
How does the SJC’s action/inaction re Johnson render moot the Herron case?
The SJC’s action regarding the Herron case moots the overtures to the GA for the SJC to assume original jurisdiction in that case. The overtures to the GA regarding the Johnson case are unrelated. They are made to the GA asking that the GA (not the SJC) assume original jurisdiction. I don’t know how the GA could conduct a trial so that’s why it is supposed that the GA will hand the case to the SJC to assume original jurisdiction.
I found something very interesting in a review of the upcoming 2022 PCA General Assembly prepared for the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Oglethorpe, GA. This review can be found here: https://rfbwcf.substack.com/p/2022-general-assembly-preview?s=r. What is interesting relates to the Greg Johnson case. The author of the report doesn’t think that the SJC will assume original jurisdiction but he states that there are indications that Greg Johnson and his Memorial Presbyterian Church are preparing to leave the PCA “quite soon”.