Jeffery L. Kauffman

Ohio, Virginia, and Indiana Mennonite minister’s credential terminated for sexual misconduct

Jeffery Kauffman (b. 1968), pastor of Zion Mennonite Church (Archbold, Ohio) from 2011 to 2016, engaged in a “sexual relationship” with an adult female member of the congregation while he was pastor there.

After Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA received a complaint in June 2020, an “unbiased and experienced” investigation team, using the 2016 sexual misconduct policy and the 2017 ministerial leadership manual, determined that Kauffman had engaged in sexual misconduct. The conference’s Credentialing Ministry Team stated that Kauffman was cooperative in the investigation process and agreed with the charge of ministerial sexual misconduct. While Kauffman made a formal request to relinquish his ministerial credential, the conference chose instead to terminate it.

In a letter to the Zion congregation, Dick Barrett, conference minister of Ohio Conference, explained:

While there are differences in how people view such relationships outside the church, when it is between a pastor and member of the congregation, it is always pastoral sexual misconduct. … [A] pastor misusing the power and authority of the office of pastor, betraying the trust of the congregation, and exploiting the vulnerability of one whom has been entrusted to his care. It is always the responsibility of the pastor to maintain ethical boundaries.

Barrett reached out to MAP in August 2020 to report the case. He explained that notifying MAP of new, substantiated cases of ministerial sexual misconduct is now Ohio Conference protocol, and shared a statement about Kauffman’s case that he soon after posted to the conference website.

In 2019, Kauffman obtained a nursing license in Indiana.

Church-related positions

  • Lead pastor, Zion Mennonite Church, Archbold, Ohio, 2011–2016
  • Lead pastor, Weavers Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 2003–2008
  • Associate pastor, First Mennonite Church, Middlebury, Indiana, 1997–2000

Documentation

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