Bruxy Cavey Confesses to Sexual Misconduct—But Not Abuse

By Sarah Einselen
misconduct abuse bruxy cavey Canadian megachurch
Bruxy Cavey, former lead pastor of multi-site megachurch The Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, in a 2021 video. (Video screen grab)

Former Canadian megachurch pastor Bruxy Cavey confessed last evening to sexual misconduct, but stopped short of saying he was guilty of abuse.

In a post on his website, the 56-year-old pastor and author acknowledged that “there is truth” at the core of the allegations that led to his resignation late last week. The Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario, one of Canada’s largest churches, had accepted his resignation as teaching pastor Thursday following a third-party investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Cavey had pastored the multi-site church in the Toronto area since 1997, growing it to its current weekly attendance of around 5,000. He also wrote the popular book “The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus” and has taught at U.S. seminaries and universities.

The independent investigation substantiated allegations that Cavey “abused his power and authority” in a sexual relationship that started from “a clergy counselor relationship,” according to a statement from Maggie John, the chair of the church’s overseers board.

Cavey’s misconduct “amounted to sexual harassment,” according to the statement, which John also read during a town hall meeting the church hosted yesterday evening.

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She said at the town hall meeting that the misconduct “went on for a number of years.”

John did not describe Cavey’s misconduct as clergy sexual abuse. She acknowledged that the alleged victim and Danielle Strickland, a former teaching pastor at the church, “would like us to use stronger language that goes beyond what was found in the report.”

“It was important to us to maintain the integrity of the independent third-party nature of the investigation by sticking with the findings of the investigator,” John explained.

Strickland, who resigned Monday as teaching pastor at The Meeting House “in solidarity with the victim,” read a statement reportedly from the victim today on Instagram.

Through Strickland, the alleged victim said that “the findings failed to name this abuse of power and authority explicitly for what it is: clergy sexual abuse.”

Strickland read the alleged victim’s statement in a joint Instagram Live broadcast with pastor and activist Jarrod McKenna. Strickland did not name the alleged victim, she said, because the woman does not feel safe coming forward.

The woman’s statement went on to indicate that the reported abuse “began during a pastoral counseling relationship when I was 23 and he was 46.”

“I was in crisis and trusted him, and I did not, nor could I, consent to a sexual relationship with him,” the woman said through Strickland. “This for me was not an extramarital relationship or affair. It was a devastating twisting of pastoral care into sexual abuse.”

danielle strickland
Danielle Strickland

Strickland said in the video that the woman first told her about the alleged abuse, then Strickland reported it to the church’s overseers.

Strickland said she was pleased with the church’s initial response, but “as the process went on, I realized there were some missing things,” including a victim advocate.

The alleged victim “was really only asking for one thing from the very beginning, and it was for it to be named and for it to be prevented,” Strickland said in the Instagram video. So the woman “was really sad and devastated to hear that they had concluded that what she had shared was ‘harassment’ and an ‘affair,’ when it clearly isn’t.”

The Meeting House acknowledged to the woman a few days later that Cavey had also abused his power, Strickland said.

Cavey said in his confession that he takes “full responsibility” for his actions.

Cavey described his misconduct as “an extramarital affair” and an “adulterous relationship,” and referred to his alleged victim as “the woman I was involved with.”

He also said he was “irresponsible in my role as a spiritual leader and Christian clergy, which involves dynamics of power and influence and an expectation of exemplary conduct that makes me doubly accountable.”

“. . . Although I had repented before God, I kept it a secret from others,” Bruxy stated elsewhere in his confession. “I am sorry upon sorry for my cowardice. I realize that repentance without confession is only partial and prevents healing and authentic relationship in the light of truth.”

Bruxy said he and his family would now take time “to consider our next steps.” He closed by saying he was grateful for his readers’ prayers “as I recommit to Jesus and hope to personally experience his restoration and renewal.”

John said the overseers did not know the misconduct was taking place before the alleged victim came forward on November 30, 2021.

“We are as shocked as you are,” she said during a question-and-answer portion of the town hall meeting.

The Meeting House’s small Anabaptist denomination, Be In Christ Church of Canada, has removed Cavey’s ministerial credentials, according to John. Police have not gotten involved, she said.

The Meeting House has also pulled Cavey’s sermons from its website, John said, because the situation constitutes “a case of sexual sin, harassment, abuse of power and authority, that compromises the experience that that we see in this person.”

Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.

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19 thoughts on “Bruxy Cavey Confesses to Sexual Misconduct—But Not Abuse”

  1. Todd Mccauley

    A rose by any other name is still a rose. You don’t get to be in a non sanctioned sexual relationship for years and then call it something else. The only victim here is the spouse that was cheated on.

    1. Respectfully, abuse of this kind can involve the pastor making threats if the victim reports. We certainly do not know if that is the case here, but pastors in this situation have been known to threaten suicide if the victim reports or shares information with others, silencing the victim with fear of shaming or publicity or suggesting that there is something about the relationship that makes it an exception to what would be considered sinful (i.e. I’ve squared this with God, this is prophecy, you are the only one I can talk to because I am a pastor). This is in addition to the damage of practiced charismatic manipulative behaviors that the victim might face. And yes, certainly the spouse is a victim, and perhaps sadly experienced with the actions of her “charming” husband.

  2. Rebecca Brown

    This is the most hopeful story I have read lately on spiritual abuse and the victim’s message is so important. Tell someone. I also reported abuse. Initially I was also pleased, but as the process went on there were things missing. The first two questions to a victim should be: do you feel unsafe? are you being threatened? If “yes” is the answer to either one, it must be escalated. Victims should be provided a written description of the process. The person taking the complaint should be experienced in trauma and counseling. The victim should be offered a neutral party for support if there is an investigation. In my case the pastor was removed from the ministry, relocated and given free marital counseling. I was promised a counselor if I provided the name, but this never happened despite repeated requests. Despite having submitted a lengthy complaint, there was never I investigation. This system must change.

  3. So now the question is:
    What has the investigative council and the victim done to pursue legal criminal action. It’s my understanding that if the findings concluded harrassment and abuse that criminal charges are in order are they not?
    In fact the investigative council, if not others, have an obligation to report under law if Canada is anything like the US.
    It would seem that if the distinction between extra marital affair vs harrassment and abuse is to have any clarity, legal action would be required.

    1. There is still a lot of unanswered questions for many people who attend the meeting house. I think its very clear everyone is hurt and saddened by what has happened. We can all agree that bruxy was clearly wrong in his actions. Bruxy abused his authority but what many don’t understand is if the relationship was consentual and was a sexual relationship as well why is she looked at as a victim. It seems as if her actions are being dismissed and the focus on bruxy alone. More information and details we hope will come soon.

      1. Not only that, but does the church investigative council realize that in thier willingness to identify with an alleged victim they are possibly putting the church in legal jeapordy by asserting a criminal accusation. If Cavey chose to prove in court he did not abuse her or harrass her but rather engaged in a consensual relationship which occured outside the counseling environment, i.e. dates, hotels etc, then they are facing the potential liability for slander and libel.
        I only say alleged victim because in our system of jurisprudence, victims are ultimately identified by judges or juries, not by private investagative councils. Victim means crime. Crimes must be reported and tried.
        In this case if a victim of criminal abuse and harrassment is identified for the purposes of firing and defrocking, but the case is never brought before magistrates, this poses a serious credibility crises for the investigators and the accuser. Cavey could exploit that for financial repairs if he could show that a lesser accusation such as mere moral failure could have resulted in a disciplinary process followed by restoration of his career.
        As such the public assertion of criminal abuse and harrassment has permantly damaged Caveys prospects of ever having a career in ministry. If the accusations are true, that is a deserved outcome. But if they can be disproven, the church is at great risk of legal action.

  4. Robert Simpson

    A good statement from Hagar, the target of Cavey’s abuse.

    Has the church retained a reliable third party, perhaps Ms. Strickland, and asked members of the church and the public to contact this person with any other concerns about the church, and any other evidence or allegations of clergy sexual abuse and other misbehavior? The likelihood of this being Cavey’s first and only abuse are very low.

    A full audit of the church’s finances by an independent Chartered Accountant also is in order, just to allay any concerns that Cavey’s abuse might have extended to money.

    Also, is the church providing for professional counseling for the victim and offering her monetary damages, as they should?

    1. I think the church needs to examine WHY so many male pastors are predators and getting away with it!!!! What’s wrong here. Why do so many who become aware of these abuses turn their backs and keep silent!!!!! In my opinion the most damaged would be the pastors wife and children! This must stop or your churches are going to be empty!

      1. Why are so many women, many married, willing to cheat with married pastors??

        YES, apparently a lot of predators out there including this cat- and it’s not even remotely right. Yet…the question above still looms.

        Lord have mercy on me, a sinner…

        1. Dean, This was abuse not an affair! The pastor wanted to call it an affair. But still the pastor is always in my opinion more at fault. We all know anyone in any power position is going to be tempted and have opportunities. That’s why God set down guidelines for the character of anyone chosen to be a pastor.

        2. Dean T,

          Why are so many married (or unmarried) pastors willfully willing to break the commandment on adultery? Why is it whenever a pastor is caught, the first reaction is to go after the woman? He is responsible for his actions.

          There are temptations everywhere and are we to blame the temptation for our actions or is it how we respond to them that matters?

  5. Benjamin Chung

    “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.

  6. Mark Zimmerman

    That the church’s overseers board only asked Cavey to resign instead of firing him seems to reflect their unwillingness to deal with Cavey in the strong, firm way required by the gravity of his betrayal of his pastoral office, and may make the way easier for him to reboot in some inappropriate ministry capacity sooner than his deep character flaws that led to this should allow.

  7. My comment to his alleged confession on his blog is this: it is not a true confession when you try to lessen the severity of your actions by calling it an extramarital affair. If not to the public, I hope that he can at least acknowledge this within himself and to his family, the victim and his former team. Christian, Atheist or otherwise, our words and intent matter a great deal and can make all the difference when it comes to forgiveness, healing and moving forward. Gaslighting will only prolong and deepen the inevitable impact.

  8. Bruxy Cavey should have been fired from the Meeting House with no further compensation. He clearly demonstrated predatory sexual behaviour in relationship to Hagar. This was a clear case of Clergy Sexual abuse. Kudos to Hagar for being a brave and courageous women. May she be blessed and prosper as she finds healing and grace for each day.

  9. Kenneth Lundgren

    Whatever happened to the “Billy Graham Rule” ?
    “I did not travel, meet or eat alone with a woman other than my wife. We determined that the Apostle Paul’s mandate to the young pastor Timothy would be ours as well: “Flee … youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 1:22, KJV).”
    why has it been ridiculed and ignored?

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