He was a celebrity pastor at one of Canada’s biggest megachurches. Inside the sexual abuse allegations that brought down Bruxy Cavey last month, he was seen as a “godly, good guy” who could talk to teens in a way that ordinary Christians weren’t. But a recent string of revelations about his sexual abuse crisis, the extent of it and the victims is making it tougher for him to survive.
Cavey’s career at the helm of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) was all-consuming. He was the president of the church since 2002, a position that brought with it more than $1.2 million in annual salaries and perks. He was also charged with ensuring the church’s financial stability, and took part in some of the church’s most important conversations. The EFC was formed in 1957, and its membership has swelled over the decades to include some of the world’s most revered pastors, including Bob Cray, Joel Osteen and Russell Moore.
The EFC has been accused of a high number of sexual abuse claims, including abuse by teachers and parents. The church has faced criticism for its role in the abuse crisis, and in several cases the church has refused to admit it knew about the abuse and failed to stop it. A recent report showed that the church tried to hide the extent of its knowledge about abuse in the mid-1980s and that its internal investigation process was not very effective.
All of this took place under Cavey’s leadership. He served for three years on the church’s board of directors and was one of the church’s most high-profile board members. He was a co-author on a 2009 EFC report, “Saving souls,” in which he called for a more in-depth investigation of its own knowledge of abuse. In 2015, he spoke of the EFC’s failure to stop abuse and warned that abuse allegations were “hijacked”