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An important message from Bishop Hughes

Dear People of Faith,

I wrote to you in September after I was notified by the Rt. Rev. Douglas Fisher, Diocese of Western Massachusetts, that a priest formerly of our diocese, the Rev. Gregory Lisby, had been arrested by the FBI in connection with an investigation into possession of child pornography.

Bishop Fisher notified me yesterday of a devastating development in the FBI’s investigation: credible evidence that Lisby sexually molested a teenager. This shocking news has raised new concerns and has been deeply upsetting to the family of the child involved and to all in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts. A copy of a letter from Bishop Fisher to his diocese regarding this matter follows below.

The Rev. Lisby served at Christ Church, Ridgewood from June 2010 through May 2015. His husband, the Rev. Timothy Burger, served concurrently at All Saints’ Church, Glen Rock. They both transferred to the Diocese of Western Massachusetts in September 2015.

At this time, there is no indication of this behavior during the Rev. Lisby’s tenure in this diocese. We have provided assistance, when needed, for staff, lay leaders, and members of these congregations as they respond to this news. We will continue to do so. We will continue to monitor this investigation carefully.

We take the safety of children very seriously in the Diocese of Newark. All incoming clergy and diocesan staff undergo background checks, and all clergy and diocesan staff, as well as all church staff or volunteers who work with children, are required to take Safe Church Training every five years.

Should anyone have relevant information, please contact the diocesan Intake Officers responsible for receiving reports of clergy misconduct: The Rev. Canon Andrew Wright, Canon to the Ordinary (973-430-9915 or awright@dioceseofnewark.org) or the Rev. Susan Chrystal (908-403-6597 or spchrystal@gmail.com).

We join the people of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts in praying for all children exploited by child pornography and sexual abuse. We also pray for the Reverends Burger, Lisby, and their family.

Grace and Peace,
Bishop Hughes