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RZIM Canada announces it is closing down following Ravi Zacharias scandal

The Canadian arm of apologetics organisation Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) has announced it will be closing down following the release of a report which revealed that Zacharias had engaged in "sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape" over a number of years. 

In a statement, the board of RZIM Canada said that the report had filled them with "desolation and grief" and vowed to support their namesake's victims. 

"We grieve for all the victims. No words are adequate or even appropriate, yet we must somehow find words," they said. "Their stories must be heard and heeded. We pray for healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation." 

RZIM Canada noted that it had always been a "wholly independent and self-sustaining charitable organization" and said it had taken the decision to stop receiving donations last month "while seeking God’s direction" for the ministry. 

In light of the recent revelations, the board confirmed that it had taken the difficult decision to discontinue all operations. 

"We recognize the ongoing need for an apologetics-based approach to evangelism," they said. "Regrettably, we are of the conviction that it is not possible for RZIM Canada to fulfil this mandate within the current environment. Therefore, it is with heaviness of heart and after much prayerful consideration that we are compelled to begin winding down the operations of RZIM Canada." 

The statement concluded: "Our hearts go out to the countless people around the world who responded to Ravi’s apologetic ministry and who are now at risk of rejecting the message on account of the messenger. We take hope that Truth prevails even in a fallen world.

"We ask that you continue to join us in fervent prayer." 

Last week, the UK arm of the ministry, the Zacharias Trust, said it is severing all ties with RZIM over their handling of the situation. 

The UK board criticised the RZIM board for "not going nearly far enough in terms of actions relating to leadership and governance" in the wake of the scandal.

"Very serious issues and systemic failings have been raised in recent months and confirmed by the Miller&Martin report," they added. "These demand accountability and urgent action beyond the measures outlined in the RZIM US statement." 

As a result of this alleged inaction, the UK board said it had taken "the unanimous decision" to embark on officially changing its name.

"In governance terms, the UK entity has always been a separate charity with independent trustees, but in the current circumstances we believe that we must now operate without any link to RZIM US," they explained.

"The UK entity will also choose a new name. This process will take time to complete but the UK Board is convinced that this is the best and only way to ensure that the ministry can continue to serve the UK church with integrity. This will also give us the opportunity to review the lessons to be learned from these awful events." 

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