View the Northern Great Lakes Synod Policy and Procedures Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Rostered Ministers here.

The following synod staff are available to receive reports of misconduct:
Bishop Katherine Finegan | | (906) 228-2300
Rev. James Duehring | | (906) 228-2300
The following individuals who are not on the synod staff are also able to receive reports:
Rev. Kari Vadis | | (715) 362-4258
Pam Durbin | | (906) 420-6362 (cell) | (906) 428-4429 (home)

If the report should be filed in another synod or congregation outside the Northern Great Lakes Synod, you are free to contact us; however, we may need to refer the matter to the synod in which the event occurred. For other contacts, see the ELCA website at for a drop down menu on whom to contact

Additional contact: For further assistance within the ELCA, please call 800-638-3522, ext. 2699, or email.

2024 NGLS Child Protection Policy & Congregation Letter

As you put together your own policies and best practices, feel free to reach out to Stefanie Ehle, NGLS Youth Ministry Coordinator, or Bishop Katherine Finegan with any questions or circumstances you want to talk through.

NGLS Child Protection Policy 2024
Child Protection Letter to Congregations

What is misconduct?

Sexual misconduct: Federal and state laws make distinctions among various types of sexual misconduct, such as “sexual harassment,” “sexual abuse,” and “sexual assault.” Similarly, the governing documents of the ELCA define what types of sexual misconduct can result in a pastor or deacon facing ecclesiastical discipline. These distinctions should not concern a person who is troubled about the sexual conduct of a pastor or deacon. This church is concerned about all types of sexual misconduct by these individuals, regardless of whether or how the misconduct is characterized by the law or by the governing documents of the ELCA.

Any time a minister uses his or her position in the church for personal sexual gratification it is a misuse of the pastoral office and a betrayal of the nature of the pastoral relationship. Any sexual misconduct committed by a rostered church minister should be reported to the appropriate synod, including, but not limited to, any sexual contact between the rostered person and a congregant, counselee, employee or volunteer. It should be noted that the synod may not be able to assume primary responsibility for addressing all allegations of sexual misconduct. For example, law enforcement authorities would have responsibility for investigating and addressing criminal allegations, while congregations would have to deal with accusations of sexual harassment by the congregation’s employees. Nevertheless, the synod office should be notified of all cases of inappropriate sexual behavior in the congregation.

ELCA Resources

The normative expectations of this church for its rostered ministers focus on faithful and effective exercise of ministerial leadership. In all matters of morality and personal ethics this church expects its rostered ministers to be exemplary in conduct. The document Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline fully explains these explanations.

A list of resources to help individuals and congregations understand how to respond to and prevent sexual misconduct, including sample congregational policies, is available here: Sexual Misconduct Prevention.

Risk Management – This resource page provides you a visual way to explore and download the many types of resources the ELCA has available. You may also use their powerful search engine to find other resources not listed here. Church Mutual now makes all of its Safety Resources available to all ELCA congregations!

Other Resources

Cherish All Children is an ELCA ministry that equips congregations to prevent child sexual exploitation. The heart of this ministry lies in congregations, where staff, leaders, and members pray, educate, connect with others, and act on behalf of children within and outside their congregations. Cherish All Children has tips, practical examples and a suggested structure for developing a Cherish All Children team. The website also has resources for safe church policies, prayer booklets, books, and Internet resources.

Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Child Abuse in the Church by Joy Thornburg Melton This 80-page book provides guidance to help develop policies and procedures for reducing the risk of child abuse in the church. The book defines the scope of child abuse, outlines the different types of abuse, notes the indicators of abuse, discusses the legal requirements for reporting abuse, and provides guidelines for screening and hiring workers and volunteers. The book also outlines basic procedures of safe ministry with children and youth and outlines a congregational plan for responding to allegations of abuse. Sample forms included for screening workers, requiring background checks, doing reference checks and reporting suspected abuse. A suggested training session plan for people who work with children and youth is outlined, and a bibliography of suggested resources is included. This book can be purchased from Amazon.

Contact ELCA Churchwide Office


Prevention of Sexual Misconduct Domestic Mission Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 8765 West Higgins Road Chicago, IL 60631-4101

Phone: 800-638-3522, ext. 2699 Fax: 773-380-2750