Abuse of Power: Reflection, Lament, and Liturgy


The committee addressing abuse of power in the CRC, which reported to Synod 2019, spent countless hours researching, interviewing people, and hearing stories. It was heavy work, exposing the dark underbelly of a beloved denomination. The committee was also given time during synod for education around the issue, as well as to present their report and recommendations.

Kathy Vandergrift, who served on the committee noted, “We had a litany prepared, thinking that it can be helpful to include a liturgical/worshipful element to process this issue. It was developed, based on our report.” A time of reflection and lament seemed appropriate after this issue was discussed.

Attached is the original litany, penned by Dr. Sharon Fennema, Assistant Professor of Christian Worship and Director of Worship Life at Pacific School of Religion. Many have expressed how they were touched by the litany and by the ceremony involving stones. It is estimated that 2/3 of the delegates came forward to participate.

In addition, a song called Standing Stone was also meaningful to the committee as they considered how to bring an element of worship into this difficult discussion. You can see how it played out at Synod 2019 as it’s been recorded here: Video Link to Worship – 1:02-1:22

This litany may also be appropriate for use in churches on Abuse Awareness Sunday, Sept. 22, or any Sunday. We are so thankful that Sharon has given her permission for us to post it here, as a resource for CRC congregations.

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