Abuse Awareness Sunday is the fourth week of every September as listed in the Church Year Resources website. Below are some resources to help you design a worship service around our theme for this year, Safe Church Ministry: Not Just a Policy, a Way of Being the Church. Additionally, we invite you to order bulletin inserts/ flyers for your church here.
This is the front of our bulletin insert for 2021. The artwork pictured is a textile piece titled: “Being Imagined” by Lorraine Roy, an artist from Ontario, Canada, who draws inspiration from the vital connections found throughout nature. Eric Kas, a staff member of Safe Church Ministry, reflects on this image as it relates to our Abuse Awareness theme in a blog titled: "Considering Trees, Mycorrhiza and Safe Church Ministry: A Holistic Culture of Thriving Connections."
Devoting a Sunday to naming, praying, and preaching about abuse is a great way to foster awareness and break the culture of secrecy that allows abuse to go unchecked. This, however, should be done with sensitivity and care, mindful that there are those in your congregation who have experienced abuse (1 in 3 women, 1 in 6 men). To prevent retraumatization, it’s a good idea to let people know the theme for the Sunday a week ahead of time. Additionally, we would encourage worship leaders to take great care in the language used, images shown, and videos played during the service, keeping survivors needs in focus when planning.
Video: consider showing this 3-minute video before or during the service to cast a vision for Safe Church in your congregation.
Sermon text: Galatians 6:1-10
Throughout the book of Galatians, Paul argues that those who are justified in Christ are no longer bound by the law. With faith in Christ comes freedom. However, this freedom from the law does not mean that Christians can do whatever they please, indulging their own selfish desires and living for themselves. Instead, Paul notes that as new creations in Christ, . . . see more
Prayer of Lament:
O Lord God, you wept as your Son's Body
was wounded and scarred.
Together with you,
we grieve alongside children and adults . . . see more
- LUYH #303 – Healer of our Every Ill
- LUYH #309 – The Servant Song
Prayer of Dedication
Leader: We offer ourselves to you, O God, our Creator.
All: We offer our hands.
Leader: Use healing touch to comfort sisters, brothers, and children who are afraid.
All: We offer our eyes and ears.
Leader: May we see and hear the signs and stories of violence, . . . see more
Practical Suggestions For Bearing Each Other’s Burdens and Fostering a Culture of "Safe" Church
Cultivating a culture of safe church means shifting:
1. From one or two people holding up the cause of abuse prevention to all of us upholding “safe church” as a core part of the good news of Jesus. Learn about creating vibrant and creative Safe Church Teams (link here to resources on Safe Church Teams).
These are just a few suggestions for planning a worship service on Abuse Awareness Sunday around this year's theme, "Not Just a Policy: A Way of Being Church." If you have other resources or ideas, we invite you to post them in the comments section.