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The Classis Huron Safe Church Committee is hosting the Annual Inter-Classis Safe Church Conference Training Event in Waterloo, Ontario. This event will be of interest to all pastors, elders, deacons, Abuse Response team members, youth leaders, and others who have leadership positions in the Christian community.  Anyone who desires to learn more about abuse-related matters is welcome to attend. 

Date: Saturday, March 04, 2023

Time: Registration is from 8:30 am to 9:00 am and the event ends at 3:30 pm Eastern. 

Location: Waterloo CRC 209 Bearinger Road, Waterloo, ON N2L 4H5, Phone: 519-746-5727 and church website

Register at (then click on the link that says: Inter-Classis Safe Church Information Page)

Registration fee: $35.00 (includes lunch and refreshments). Note: Pre-registration is necessary, and the deadline is March 2, 2023. Fees can be either e-transfers or cheques. Please make cheques out to “Classis Huron Safe Church Committee” 

Program Schedule: 

  • 8:30 - 9:00 am Registration & Refreshments 
  • 9:00 - 9:30 am Welcome & Opening Devotions
  • 9:30 - 10:00 am Update on Safe Church Ministry, Rev. Amanda Benckhuysen
  • 10:00 - 10:15 am Refreshment Break
  • 10:15 am - 12:00 pm Workshops A, B
  • 12:15 - 1:15 pm Lunch
  • 1:15 - 3:00 pm Workshops C, D
  • 3:00 - 3:30 pm Closing


Morning Sessions (10:15 am to 12:00 pm)

“A” Repentance & Accountability: Forgiveness is not the first step. 
Presenter: Carol Penner 
When abuse is discovered, too often people in the church want to quickly forgive the person who has offended. Using scripture and several case studies, we’ll explore why that’s a problem for the victim, the person who has offended and the church. How do we experience forgiveness and God’s grace when terrible sins have rocked a community? In this workshop we will explore both God’s power to heal and God’s desire for justice.

“B” Power, Trust, Harm and Abuse 
Presenters: Steve Snider & Peter Wyngaarden
Teachers, caregivers, Friendship teachers, and anyone who serves vulnerable people in a church setting may experience verbal or physical harm in the course of carrying out their duties. AND, vulnerable people may experience abuse at the hands of those in positions of power who are entrusted to serve them. In this session, we will examine: 

  • What is power? What is trust?
  • What are unique responsibilities when placed in a position of trust?
  • Are there useful distinctions between acts of harm and acts of abuse? Is all harm abuse?
  • How can we serve vulnerable people people respectfully while minimizing the risk of anyone experiencing abuse or harm?

Afternoon Sessions (1:15 to 3:00 pm) 

“C” Conversations with a Person who Experienced Sexual Harm and a Person who Offended Sexually: How to Respond Restoratively in your Place of Worship. 
Presenters: Jennifer Beaudin, Cat Bodden, Mare Zettel, & Mark. 
Community Justice Initiatives invites you to an interactive conversation on how to respond when someone comes forward about sexual abuse. This session will include an opportunity to hear from two volunteer speakers with lived experience and discussions on how to support all those impacted within a faith community. We recognize that this topic may bring forward unwanted memories for some. We invite you to engage with this topic while being mindful of your own wellness needs. 

“D” The Power to Do Good: The Use & Misuse of Power in the Church. 
Presenter: Rev. Amanda Benckhuysen 
In this presentation, participants will learn about the gift and responsibility of power and spiritual authority, how to steward authority in ways that lead to the flourishing of others, deepen their understanding of abuses of power and how to prevent it, and learn how to cultivate a goodness culture in their congregation. This workshop fulfills the recommendation of Synod for Abuse of Power awareness training for pastors and ministry leaders. 

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