At Safe Church Ministry, we are so thankful that the Body of Christ is responding to the harmful impacts of sexual abuse across denominations. \We know sexual abuse is hard to speak about, perhaps especially in churches, and so it is important to have materials encouraging us to raise awareness and speak words of hope, healing, and love with God’s people.
We commend to you the work of the Reformed Church in America in its resource Addressing Sexual Assault and Abuse in Worship. They recognize that clergy, leaders, and others may not raise the topic in worship for fear of saying the wrong thing, reopening wounds, or making people uncomfortable. And, they add, “Yet when we address sexual assault and abuse with care, worship can be both an agent of healing in Christ and a powerful voice for ending sexual harassment, abuse, and violence.”
In this resource, you will find:
- Guidelines for Addressing Sexual Assault in Worship: Recognizing that churches have not always been a safe place for people who have experienced abuse to share their stories, these guidelines offer tools to plan ahead and be intentional in creating safe places to share within your sanctuary, places of hope and healing, safety and security.
- Service of Lament and Prayer Liturgy: This liturgy uses the powerful cries of Psalm 77, Jesus’ words to welcome us to the table: “Come to me all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”, and offers prayers for all to be made well in and through God’s love.
- Sample We Are Speaking Sunday Service: We Are Speaking is the RCA’s call to the church to end harassment, abuse, and sexual violence against women and girls. This liturgy raises the importance of speaking up to dismantle such sins and mend our relationships with God and with our neighbour.
- Psalm 131 Prayer of Response and Reflection: This psalm names the importance of being embraced by God and Jesus.
- A Song of Christ's Goodness - Anselm of Canterbury: This ancient prayer speaks about the compassion and forgiveness offered by our Gracious God.
- Evangelical Covenant Church resources for Domestic Violence Awareness Sunday: Many resources are listed here including links to appropriate scripture texts, sermon helps, music, prayers, drama, literature, videos, and much more.
- Resources from the Women's Inter-Church Council of Canada: This Christian organization offers liturgies, sermons, and encouragement for speaking about abuse during worship, from a Canadian perspective.
- As well as a number of hymn and song suggestions.