Thanks for sharing, Dave! I'm not always a fan of labeling and boxing in particular generations. However, technology and culture are always changing and creating different experiences to children who grew up then vs now. And, it is the work of us, the church, to deeply see how the Spirit is calling us to share and be good news to all.
Thanks for the comment, Ben! There are a group of 8 of us across North America who are becoming trainers of Restorative Practices in Faith Communities (by FaithCARE, a part of Shalem Mental Health Network) and two people from Ontario and two people from British Columbia will be leading trainings in the future. Stay tuned for the dates!
Feel free to send me an email as well if you'd like to connect more on this: [email protected]
Kim, thanks so much for your encouraging comment! Thank you for your prayers for continued increase in awareness of abuse in the church. Yes, your experience is definitely not an anomaly, you are not alone. I also am continuing to pray that the spirit leads us in truth and grace as we become churches that bearing each other’s burdens and foster a culture of being a "Safe" church.
Thanks for posting this, Virgina! I am curious to hear how congregations or organizations are navigating individual mentoring as well. :)
Hi Michael, I just added a few specific examples of sermons. One is a fantastic one by Rev. Colin Vander Ploeg, and the other is one I preached in 2019. We would love to see more sermons preaching against abuse, highlighting God's grace and renewal - particularly ones that are trauma informed and give voice to the experience survivors face. Feel free to contribute to this, if you feel led. We would love to have more churches participate in "Abuse Awareness Sunday" on the fourth Sunday in September, it also doesn't have to take place on that Sunday, but is at least an opportunity, more info can be found on Abuse Awareness Sunday at our page: crcna.org/safechurch/abuse-awareness.
Also, if you have a request regarding key changes to a Safe Church Network article, it may be helpful to send me an email before a public comment, just a suggestion, take it for what it is. Regarding why SoJo - I can schedule a conversation with you if you'd like to talk about underlying philosophies of a variety of organizations/ pros/cons/etc. In short though, it was neat to see an organization ask pastors from any church to be in solidarity with those who have been victimized by DV, I haven't heard of another org that quickly received so many sermons on the topic. Back to the hope though, I'm optimistic that more churches who confess the Apostles Creed may be able to give voice to the unique challenges that survivors of DV face (and hopefully more of those of us who confess to the Three Forms of Unity as well).
Thanks for your question, Nancy,
A few thoughts come to mind. The first is that Safe Church Ministry recommends every church have a team in place to assess their own community's culture of abuse prevention, facilitate background checks, training in policy and a variety of efforts to raise awareness of abuse, and respond to abuse with compassion and justice that foster healing. This looks different in every congregation, but I have been inspired from my experiences with how churches have been able to assess and identify some people from within their community that are connected to local community resources that are experts in this. I would also wonder about resources from the school to help train volunteers from the church.
Lastly, I did a quick look and found a local Childhood Advocacy Center in Rochester, NY, called Bivona Childhood Advocacy Center. Many CACs have assisted congregations in trainings to prevent abuse.
Also, Plan to Protect has been used by a variety of churches to help create policy and train their volunteers.
Those are just a few thoughts! Feel free to email me at [email protected] and I may also be able to connect you to a person in your classis who may further support you.
Posted in: Power: How Will We Use It?
Thanks Bev, for pointing these out! Diane Langberg's Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauama Destroys and Christ Restores is terrific. She has a few chapters that are particularly helpful on the topic of abuse of power. Chapter 12 is called: Leadership, Power, and Deception in the Church and the Home; and chapter 13 is called: Sexual Abuse in Christian Organizations. Chapter 12 deals with individual ways leaders are deceived as Diane processes through a variety of types of power; and chapter 13 does a really good job at processing how institutions often respond so poorly to situations of abuse.
Posted in: Power: How Will We Use It?
And, I just saw she has a new book coming out called: Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church, you can pre-order it now, but it is not being released until October, 2020.
Posted in: Safe Church During COVID?
Hi Marilyn, thanks for bringing this question to the Network! We just posted this article, titled: Safe Church amid COVID-19: Resources for Youth Ministry, Social Media, and Online Streaming. I hope it is helpful. It does not go deep into all of the things that a Safe Church Team could be doing, but hopefully allows many to see a variety of needs - and some items a Safe Church Team could be doing amid COVID-19.
Also, Abuse Awareness Sunday is just around the corner on September 27th - you can see some abuse awareness resources on our website here, and this year we have highlighted Power as a topic to learn more about - you can view the bulletin insert here.
Thanks for all you are doing in your church!
Hi Linda, Thanks for your question! In my opinion, I think it is more geared towards how leaders who have narcissistic tendencies affect those within the system. However, I also think its an invitation for all of us to understand our role within our narcissistic society, and can be a very helpful roadmap towards health and healing. Especially as Chuck refers to the Enneagram and invites the reader towards understanding their role within their family of origin. Here are a few quotes from the book that may give a bit more clarity:
"My hope is that this book will invite each of us to ask how we participate in narcissistic systems while providing clear resources for those traumatized by narcissistic relationships, particularly in the church" (Page 4).
"The majority see narcissism as a problem 'out there' to be solved by clinicians and technicians of the soul. As I conclude my writing I wonder whether this book will be of any help, particularly if the reader remains unwilling to explore his or her own narcissism. How can we address the wounds in others if we are unwilling to address our own?" (page 169)