Resource, Website

CLEO provides many services, including booklets on abuse-related topics that are downloadable; example - Elder Abuse: The Hidden Crime

January 11, 2010 1 0 comments
Resource, Website

Here is the website of the Safe Church Ministry of the CRCNA with resources to create awareness of abuse and to assist churches and organizations to respond effectively and justly to abuse incidents.

January 11, 2010 0 0 comments
Resource, Website

Faith-based organization that provides written and video resources for the prevention of sexual assault, domestic violence, and church leader misconduct .

January 11, 2010 0 0 comments
Resource, Form or Template

This form can be used for situations when children and youth leave the community for a church-related activity or youth are gone overnight for an event.

January 11, 2010 0 0 comments

Bad news never announces that it is coming.  Bam...just like's there.  I've been occupying the office of Safe Church Ministry for 15 years.

January 4, 2010 0 1 comments



Good words are creative. "And God said,"Let there be light!" From the beginning that is the way it was to be. However, after Adam and Eve's fall words could also be destructive. They could do just the opposite of their original purpose. Instead of building up, they do tear down.
When words are used destructively again and again they suck the life out of a person. When so much of a person's value is destroyed it may be a relief to be physically attacked. Or the person may have so little "self" left that they begin to believe in some way they deserve not just the words but also the physical punishment.

posted in: Sticks and stones

Thank you for the great suggestion. If a person in your local church or community has a story of healing or restoration that he or she will share, that story becomes a powerful witness to other people who have been abused and to the general church member who may be unaware of how abuse impacts a person's life. Are you thinking of a 3-minute video to be shown during a worship service? Perhaps through these blog comments, someone may be encouraged to begin a journey of disclosure that could be shared with the broader church.

Thank you, Fellowship CRC, those are clear and helpful ideas. I think offering a "cafeteria" of resources allows each church to pick what works best in their setting. I'll keep your suggestions at hand as we begin planning for Abuse Awareness.

I've been thinking about this Sunday and wonder if we could focus on what makes a church healthy, so that it prevents abuse. Healthy individuals, families, church communities decrease the likelihood of abuse. Isn't that prevention also. It brings a more positive attitude the whole discussion and empowers people with things they can DO rather than don't do.

I would like to suggest that the Abuse Prevention Team create a video about some "success" stories. We are constantly hearing the same information about the importance of doing thorough screening, proper procedures, etc. Are there any stories of success where someone who was abused has come to experience healing through the work of their church's Abuse Prevention Team? I know abuse is never a happy story, but healing ought to be.

The best way to interface with us is to send an e-mail to our church's e-mail address with appropriate resources pasted on the e-mail. Items such as short well worded litanies, and careful selection of songs would enable us to incorporate that into our worship service. The e-mail should arrive at least three weeks before the appropriate Sunday.

We do not like to use bulletin inserts or other paper based items intended for each member.

Thank you for raising the issue of "spiritual talk". I'm not quite sure how to respond to spiritual talk. Mostly, I feel guilty for even thinking about challenging it when I hear it. I'll give an example. What does "That's a God thing" mean? Isn't everything a God thing? If I agree with the speaker, I'm probably saying that just to be nice. I'm tempted to challenge it, but then will the speaker think I don't give credit to God for His work? See, it just messes me up. The use of spiritual talk reminds me of peer pressure. Others judge you as "in" or "out" depending on whether you say what they say. Those judgments get elevated to a greater impact when people use scriptures to justify the judgments.

I agree that the perfect screening procedure does not exist. However, if a tool is inadequate by itself (the criminal record check), then we should be willing to seek out other steps of screening. An application form can ask about an applicant's experience with other organizations. For example, was the applicant dismissed or terminated for misconduct? Interviews are another important screening step. During an interview, the applicant might describe his or her conduct with a child which could lead the interviewer to question the applicant's suitability to work with that age group. And references are not just about asking your best friends for a rosey review. Some friends or co-workers will share the concerns they have about an applicant if they are assured the source won't be shared with the applicant. The point to be made here is that we should do due diligence to assure parents and guests to our churches that we have taken reasonable steps to consider the appropriateness of each volunteer for a position. What do other people think?

What helped me to understand this difficult concept was the video we watched at the Safe Church Team Chairperson's Conference. To actually see it played out; how the victim and family were able to finally verbalize how they felt about what happened was the key. As the perpetrators go through the criminal justice system they don't see how what they did affected the victim. When you see their facial responses, you can tell that this approach makes it sink in for them. They truly did damage to another person, and the family/friends of that individual.

I would like to share this information at our classis level Safe Church Team. I am going to search the web for videos. Is there a video that you would suggest that is available online?

I've been thinking about your blog and I wonder if part of the answer is that as a church we believe that God and the Bible are the answers to healing. For example: God is love, God heals and the importance of forgiveness. In our minds God is good. What we fail to realize is that in the mind of the victim, the abuse, the pain, the horror, the opposite of love, good and healing has now become almost inseparately linked to God. What the church can do is back off the "spiritual talk". There will come a time for that but it might be a long time before the person is able to include God in the journey. The church can be praying for protection of the victim, that he or she won't wonder away from God, that healing will come. The church should not be quick to push an agenda of forgiveness. The church should show what God's love is by their actions and words. Practical help, acceptance of where the person is at are two examples. The church might want to talk more about Jesus rather than God if that is helpful. The church should be sure to ASK the victim what they need and not assume they know. The journey out of the pain of spiritual abuse can take a long time. Is the church ready to walk that journey no matter how long and curved the road is?

The article seems to suggest that there are more steps of screening that will reveal who past abusers particularly for those who have not been convicted. It would be helpful to know what those steps are if indeed they exist. The perfect screening procedure does not exist. Will reference checks (presumably supplied by the volunteer) or personal interviews reveal something more?