The Senior leader of Rhema Bible Church, Pastor Ray McCauley said religious leaders have taken too long to respond to the misconduct witnessed in some churches.

McCauley said these practices have tarnished the reputation of churches.

He was speaking during the Religious Summit held in Rhema Bible Church in Randburg on Wednesday.

Religious leaders and Academics gathered to find principles of good governance for Religious Bodies, in ensuring that leaders are being held to account to the society and the religious leaders for misconduct.

The summit follows a number of incidents which emerged relating to the abuse of the religious system. These include pastors feeding members of the congregation animals while others are facing string of charges including rape.

The Summit is with the assistance of the CRL Rights Commission.

McCauley said: "The finding of the Commission has embarrassed me. We are making headlines for all the wrong reasons. All these have tarnished churches and put us in a bad light.

"We have taken too long to speak and taken too long to respond. We need to come up with a plan that will mitigate all the abuse. We can find unity in the midst of diversity. We hope we can find a commonly ground to move forward," said McCauley.

Bishop Mosa Sono of Grace Bible Church said the summit needed to find a groundbreaking solution to put an end to the malpractice within the religious sector.

He said: "The abuse, malpractice and the misinterpretation have put the religious into disrepute. We are sad to say a handful of people are messing up the great work the churches have done."