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The Abuse Awareness topic for Safe Church last year was The Sex Industry and the Church. Shortly after I sent a letter to pastors across the Christian Reformed Church about the topic, I had many great conversations with old and new friends. One person I spoke to was a good friend, Rev. David Zigterman of Emden CRC in Renville, MN. He had just gotten back to me about what he and his church did, and will do, as a response.

I asked if I could share their response so that others could learn from his experience. He agreed and here is what he wrote: 

In November of 2017, the ministerium in Renville, Minnesota gathered to discuss how the church collectively in our area could address the reality of sex trafficking. The Super Bowl coming to Minnesota added urgency to addressing this topic. Our assumption was that sex trafficking during the Super Bowl was the iceberg; but we have since learned it is merely the tip of it.

To help us learn more about the problem in and around Renville, we invited all area organizations we thought might have a connection to the topic and we asked each organization to answer these three questions:

  • What are the needs in and around Renville?
  • Are these needs being met?
  • How can the church participate in meeting those needs?

This event was a helpful time for us to gain greater awareness of the issue and it also prompted us to create a prayer litany for our churches to use on Super Bowl Sunday. Further, it was an opportunity for many of the pastors to network and offer encouragement to those to who are daily fighting against sex trafficking.

Below is the prayer litany many churches around Renville will be using on February 4th, 2018 as we pray against the evil of sex trafficking that surges each Super Bowl Sunday. We welcome you to use this prayer in your churches, whether it be on the Super Bowl Sunday, Abuse Awareness Sunday, or a time your church specifically feels led. This prayer has been adapted from a "Prayer for an end to Human Trafficking" by the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth.

God of grace and truth, revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ, who came so that we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10), we ask for your grace and truth to penetrate the trouble and painful reality of sex trafficking.  May your grace transform and heal broken hearts and your truth reveal our constant need for your grace.  

God of grace and truth, grant to all the broken hearted life, full life through Jesus Christ. 

We raise our voices in anguished prayer for our sisters and brothers, women and girls, men and boys, who are victims of sex trafficking. They are your beloved daughters and sons, exploited sexually or forced to work because of human violence and greed.

God of grace and truth, grant to all the broken hearted life, full life through Jesus Christ.

Fill us with your holy anger and your sacred passion that those who are trafficked might know healing and justice; that traffickers will come to repentance and conversion; that all of us might live in such a way that others are not made to pay the price for our comfort and convenience.

God of grace and truth, grant to all the broken hearted life, full life through Jesus Christ. 

We lift before you those who are working to fight this evil every day and pray that you may grant them strength for their work.  We ask for your blessing upon the work of (Name Your Local Organizations) and others like them, that their work will inspire us to extend your grace and truth in this broken world. 

God of grace and truth, grant to all the broken hearted life, full life through Jesus Christ.  In his name, amen.


Thanks for shining light and bringing attention to this horrific evil Eric... but we also need to make it clear that porn is a HUGE part of what fuels sex trafficking!  We, the Church, are directly and indirectly making things worse for sex trafficked victims, if we do not address the porn problem in the Church.  It is estimated sex trafficking would drop significantly if those in the Church stopped supporting the porn industry with their viewing.  Let's find out and make that a reality!

Excerpt from Mary Lee Bouma's post on Do Justice:

BOQ: On the other hand, in my pastoral experience at REED Vancouver, men who begin fighting against human trafficking when they discover its relationship to porn find themselves able to get free of porn use. Focusing on advocating for women, many men have told me they were freed from the guilty rationalization, self-absorption, and shame of being a Christian who also uses porn.

Now is the time for the Church to confront the fact that a mostly-male audience is using anonymous marginalized women for pleasure, and to accept instead God's invitation to be people who practice both justice and mercy. We must begin to acknowledge and respond to the horrific spiritual, physical, and psychological effects on girls and women as men are trained by porn to objectify and violently debase them. EOQ


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