Church of the Brethren Pastor Arrested, Relinquishes Credentials

Dennis L. Brown, who has served since Nov. 2006 as interim pastor and then pastor of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, Iowa, was arrested July 8. He is charged with sexual abuse in the third degree.

A document obtained from the clerk of the court’s office in Bremer County alleges that Brown traveled to the Waverly area in May to meet a 15-year-old victim, whom he contacted over the Internet, and that he allegedly performed a sex act with the victim. The document also includes a police report alleging that he confessed to the police. Iowa newspapers report Brown remains in jail on a $50,000 bond.

The denomination’s ethics process for ministerial misconduct was started after receiving the news of the arrest, according to Mary Jo Flory-Steury, executive director of the Church of the Brethren Ministry Office. The Ministry Office has been working with the congregation and Northern Plains District.

The congregation placed Brown on immediate leave from his pastoral duties after hearing of his arrest, and last evening acted to terminate his employment. The district will take action to accept the surrendering of his ordination credentials and therefore terminate the ordination.

Flory-Steury said that the Ministry Office acts very quickly in such a situation, and with care for every person involved. “We are doing our due diligence,” she said. “We are paying attention to our ecclesiastical process.”

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