In Safe Church Ministry, we are privileged to hear stories. Often they are painful stories from those who are uncomfortable or who no longer feel that they can attend their own church because of their experience of abuse. The situation may have been mishandled by those in the church who held power; they feel shunned, misunderstood, or not believed. We hear stories from people who carry false guilt and shame, and they often feel completely alone.
It can be difficult for people who have not experienced it to understand the deep impacts of abuse. So, sometimes even with compassion and with the best intentions, our responses to abuse can be hurtful rather than helpful.
Safe Church is launching a new Safe Church topic on The Network. It’s called “S.O.S. Sharing Our Stories”. Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa and Babette’s Feast, wrote, “All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them.” We pray that the Lord will use even this online telling of stories for his purposes of healing and transformation within the Church. Perhaps hearing the stories of others will help people know that they are not alone. Equally important is for all of us to open our ears, hearts, and minds to truly listen, and to begin to understand. People, who are precious to God, have been deeply wounded by abuse, not only somewhere “out there” but right here within our midst. Our failure to hear their stories creates obstacles to effective ministry.
Click here to view all of the stories in this series so far.
If you have a story to share, we are asking that you submit it, without any identifying information in the story itself to [email protected]. If you are willing to share your own first name, it could be published that way, or we can also publish it with a different title that is more about content than a name. Please do not include church names or names of others. You may also feel free to talk with us first about your story. Your story may not be easy to write, perhaps checking in with someone else could help give you the confidence that you need to share it. Many people have found some level of affirmation and healing that comes from sharing their own story; you are not alone. We can accompany one another, even in this online space, as we journey toward healing.
This is an invitation; you are invited to share your story. Then, let’s listen, really listen, and see where the Spirit leads us in response.