Helping fractured communities

What is an Intervention?
An intervention is a deliberate, multi-step process of listening and of education after there has been an ethical breach by a member of an organization’s leadership. It includes identifying and hearing the concerns of the membership, stakeholders, victims and their families, and the leadership structure of an organization, while at the same time addressing the financial and legal questions that arise. It then moves into identifying the conditions that gave rise to the ethical breach and its prevention in the future. An Olive Branch helps return an organization to its mission with a healthy, vibrant membership.

What is an Intervention Team?
An Olive Branch uses a team approach to intervention. This mediation team has special training working with whole systems. When we enter a community, we will assign advocates to the various stakeholders to ensure they have someone listening to their specific concerns. We will also study how the system is working and craft the necessary education and training to prevent further malfeasance. We also work collaboratively with the hierarchy of the organization, the insurance company, local mediation services, and any attorneys involved.

What Does An Olive Branch Intervention Team Do?
When a spiritual community or nonprofit organization is confronted by the possibility of malfeasance by a beloved pastor (imam, rabbi, priest, minister, lay teacher, financial officer) or leader, the entire system is thrown into turmoil. Rage, disbelief, shock, grief, departure are just some of the reactions to this type of misconduct.

Even before the truth of the allegations is known, our first objective is to provide a process by which the turmoil can be managed. We cannot emphasize enough the need for third party neutrals at this difficult time. After meeting with church or organizational leaders, we design a team to meet the needs of the community. We work with all stakeholder groups to address the legal, spiritual, and educational aspects of the situation. When a new leader is selected, we both educate and support this person as s/he takes up the challenge of healing while, at the same time, continuing the organization’s work.

Ideally, An Olive Branch should be called in as early as possible—when the first complaint is made. The unbiased nature of a neutral third-party goes a long way to creating the image that the organization is taking the allegations seriously and that nothing will be swept under the rug. We help leaders investigate the charges and meet with the parties involved, offer guidance on disclosure, and support the members. An Olive Branch works respectfully in alliance with the organization’s structure, partnering with stakeholders, attorneys, and other professionals to create a clear path forward. While sexual misconduct has the potential to rip apart a church, temple, mosque, or other community, it also has the potential to lead the community into a much deeper spiritual life.

When is Intervention Needed?
When a spiritual community or nonprofit organization is betrayed by clergy or leaders’ misconduct, the impact is severe, far-reaching, and long-lasting. Rage, disbelief, shock, grief, and departure are just some of the reactions to misconduct by trusted clergy or leaders.

In spiritual communities, malfeasance by a beloved pastor, imam, rabbi, priest, minister, lay teacher, or financial officer hurts not only those directly involved but also the entire congregation.

In nonprofit organizations, when a trusted leader is accused of malfeasance, the stability of the organization is threatened and its ability to pursue its mission is compromised. Often the financial viability of the organization is at stake as donor loyalty erodes.

An Olive Branch stands ready to help when:

  • Clergy or leaders are suspected of misconduct
  • Illegal activity or sudden termination of leader(s) is likely
  • Victims and families need support
  • Clergy or leaders serving a distressed community following and incident of misconduct need support.

Let’s Talk!
Please call to discuss your situation with our Intake Person:
(412) 99Olive, (412) 996-5483