Statement concerning incidents of historical sexual misconduct

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Today, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) announced findings of ‘ministerial sexual misconduct’ and ‘ministerial misconduct’ against John D. Rempel, following an investigation by MCEC. Mr. Rempel is a former employee of the College who served as Chaplain, residence director, and Adjunct Professor at Grebel from 1973 until 1989.   

More recently, Mr. Rempel worked on a part-time basis from 2012-2015 as the Director of the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre (TMTC), a program administered by the College at the Toronto School of Theology. Mr. Rempel also held the title of Senior Fellow at TMTC, and I required him to withdraw from that role shortly after I became aware of this matter.   

The MCEC investigation was initiated at my request. Earlier this year, I received disclosures from Grebel alumni of sexual misconduct by Mr. Rempel at the time they were undergraduate residence students at the College. With the consent and support of the alumni involved, I made a formal report to MCEC asking for an investigation. MCEC has jurisdiction over the conduct of its ministers, and I’m most grateful for their thorough work and diligence in addressing this situation.  

I am deeply moved and thankful that these alumni came forward to share their stories with me and brought these painful truths to light. 

Words are inadequate, but on behalf of the College, and our Board of Governors, I want to express our heartbreak, our sadness, and our great regret that they were harmed. I have privately expressed this to each of these alumni, and I am now able to share openly that we are profoundly sorry for what they experienced. Carrying these wounds for decades has been an unfair burden for these alumni, and I hope that bringing this to light brings some healing for them and their families. These Grebel alumni deserve our ongoing concern, support, and prayers.   

I expect that coming to terms with this news will be a long road for our community. I’d like to share some of the steps that Grebel and MCEC have already taken to ensure that these survivors are supported: 

  • We will support the survivors involved with counselling from a professional of their choosing, and whatever other assistance they require 

  • Mr. Rempel no longer holds any affiliation with Grebel 

  • Mr. Rempel is restricted from the Grebel campus and from Grebel events. 

I would also like to express our collective resolve that Grebel will learn from this experience. Grebel has policies, practices, and training programs that promote accountability, transparency, safety, and respect for healthy boundaries when working with students. Although I’m confident in these systems, we will take this opportunity to review them, have difficult conversations, look for gaps, and make improvements.   

It is crucial as we move forward that anyone who wishes to disclose sexual misconduct can do so in a safe way. Carizon Counselling Services has been appointed as a third-party counselling service to receive confidential disclosures from College alumni and former employees related to historic incidents of sexual misconduct and sexual violence at Grebel. Counsellors Theresa Karn or Robert Wilson can be contacted by calling Carizon at 519-743-6333 ext. 1 or emailing intaketeam@carizon.ca and referencing the “MCEC Sponsored Program.” 

Current faculty, staff and students who wish to disclose sexual misconduct may contact the University of Waterloo’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office at 519-888-4567 ext. 40025.  

It is hard to come to terms with the fact a person who is a friend, colleague and trusted pastor has  committed sexual misconduct. I understand how painful this news will be for the family and friends of Mr. Rempel. My hope is that they will support him in the difficult process of accepting responsibility for his actions and the harm they caused.  

I know that the coming days and weeks will be very difficult for everyone involved. We welcome and need your concern, support and prayers.   

Sincerely, 

Marcus Shantz 
President, Conrad Grebel University College 

 

Contacts 

General Inquiries 
Jen Konkle 
Marketing and Communications Manager 
grebel@uwaterloo.ca  
226-339-6830 

Alumni Inquiries 
Fred Martin 
Director of Advancement 
fwmartin@uwaterloo.ca 
519-572-7704 

Student and Parent Inquiries  
Mary Brubaker-Zehr  
Director of Student Services 
mbrubake@uwaterloo.ca  
519-885-0220 x24251 

Ed Janzen  
Chaplain 
ejjanzen@uwaterloo.ca 
519-885-0220 x24249 

TMTC and Grad Student Inquiries 
Troy Osborne 
Dean 
t3osborn@uwaterloo.ca 
519-885-0220 x24260  
 

 

Other Resources 

Grebel and University of Waterloo Resources 
Grebel Policy 21: Prevention and response to sexual violence
University of Waterloo Policy 42: Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence
University of Waterloo Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Resources 
UWaterloo Counselling Services | 519-888-4567 ext. 32655 
UWaterloo Sexual Violence Prevention and Response office | 519-888-4567 ext. 40025
UWaterloo Health Services - Student Medical Clinic | 519-888-4096 
Homewood Health (UWaterloo’s EAP) | 1-800-663-1142 

Waterloo Supports and Services 
Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region | 519-741-8633  
Community Justice Initiatives | 24/7 helpline 1-866-877-0015 
Victim Services  
Ontario Women's Justice Network  
Waterloo Region Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre, St. Mary's Hospital | 519-749-6994  

Mennonite Church Resources 
Reporting Sexual Misconduct by Leaders 
Sacred Trust: fostering safe space in congregations 
MCC Abuse Response & Prevention 
Into Account 
Mennonite Abuse Prevention List 

 

Photo

John D. Rempel

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada announced findings of ‘ministerial sexual misconduct’ and ‘ministerial misconduct’ against John D. Rempel, pictured left.