Tym Elias

Former Mennonite Church Canada administrator, Manitoba minister, and prison chaplain credentials removed

In 2014, Timothy “Tym” Elias (b. 1961) admitted to sexual misconduct with an incarcerated woman while he was serving as chaplain at Winnipeg Remand Centre, a correctional facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Elias’s ministerial credential was subsequently withdrawn by church leaders in February 2014.

Elias had been a longtime leader and minister in Mennonite Church Manitoba (MCM), a conference affiliated with Mennonite Church Canada. From 1992–2000, Elias served in various leadership roles, including director of outreach and church planting. In 1993, The Mennonite reported that Elias, in his role with the congregational resources board of what is now Mennonite Church Canada, had “prepared material for congregations dealing with issues of abuse.” In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Elias served as a representative and board member for Mennonite Men, which describes itself as “the men’s organization for Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.”

In 2014, MCM executive director Ken Warkentin told The Winnepeg Free Press, “We at Mennonite Church Manitoba have withdrawn Tym Elias’s credentials. … I have difficulty commenting on this — allegations have been made. … The term we use is ministerial sexual misconduct.” Neither the conference nor law enforcement would provide further information.

Warkentin further indicated that Elias had appealed the conference’s misconduct determination. Later in 2014, Canadian Mennonite reported that the Elias had admitted to sexual misconduct and MCM then withdrew his ministerial credentials.

Multiple letters to the editor printed in Canadian Mennonite after the announcement questioned the determination and the process. “Whatever happened to forgiveness?” wrote one man. “What about healing and reconciliation?” asked another.

In 2016, a concerned Winnepeg Mennonite church member contacted MAP to report that Elias had recently asked MCM about having his ministerial credentials restored. The confidential source, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisal, stated that “the patterns of abuse are much wider than previously reported.”

Church-related positions

  • Youth pastor, Morden Mennonite Church, Morden, Manitoba, 1987–1989
  • Founding leader and pastor, Minnewasta Mennonite Fellowship, Morden, Manitoba, 1990–?
  • Various roles, including director of outreach and church planting, Mennonite Church Canada, 1992–2000
  • Canada representative, Mennonite Men, 1996
  • Pastor, Portage Mennonite Church, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, 1997–2000
  • Board member, Mennonite Men, 2000–2001
  • Pastor, Home Street Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2001–2009
  • Chaplain, Winnipeg Remand Centre, Adult Corrections, Manitoba, ?–2013

Documentation

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