Introduction to the 363 Review Process

The United Church of Canada uses what they call the 363 review as their major tool to investigate a minister’s position in the pastoral charge (congregation). Ministers have many names for this process. Most of them unprintable here.

Much of the material that follows was written by a lawyer on staff with the United Church. Cynthia Gunn is her name and some of the material may have passed its best before date, but it remains useful in some situations. Ms Gunn while a hired gun for the church, as it were, is very approachable and sympathetic to ministers Just remember she represents the Church and as a professional can only talk in very general terms.

Bottom line is that there is ultimately no one who can wave the magic wand and make this problem go away. No committee, no lawyer, no friends, no clergy support, no books nothing except you. Dealing with conflict is begins with you.

Conflicts and church fights are the one of the better reasons for clergy to support attempts to organize themselves into a protective organization.

If you have a 363 story to tell you can do so on this web page with complete confidentiality. If your pain and shame is still too much, wait a few years; we will still be here. If I can help by sharing my 30 plus years of experiences with abused clergy, I will.

As I say above, ultimately nothing will ever change until we have a professional association of some kind like teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc. However clergy like most slaves down through history do not rise up so don’t hold your breath.

Clergy have never felt a real live sense of solidarity with other clergy seeking justice. For some sad reason most clergy can find reasons why a clergy in pain deserves what he/she is getting thus they can pass by on the other side. Even sadder is the cleric who feels his/her personal conflict was undeserved but all other clergy deserve what they are getting.

By and by clergy just don’t get it till a 363 comes to them and by then baby its too late. Clergy who suffer through this seldom heal. I went through a conflict in 1979 and it’s a real today in 2008 as it was then.

Talk about post traumatic stress syndrome. It follows you everywhere. Just wait till your next congregation when ‘it’ rears it’s ugly head again. You will remember these words and say that old bugger McKibbon was right!

If you are reading this and have been 363ed and would like to post the 363 with your comments please feel free to send them along. Comments should be in a word document or a file we can upload to the web page.

If you are not comfortable with that just send me your comments to read. That will be in complete confidence.

Remember you help no one if you keep quiet in your pain. Turn the light on so those coming behind may be helped.