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Hi Nancy,

Words cannot express how sorry I am for what you and your boys have gone through.  I am so sorry for how the church has let you down. My heart breaks for you and for what your boys experienced.   I pray your sharing will urges us all on to learn more about domestic violence and to respond differently.  May God protect and give you the strength and grace you need.



thanks Amy for your courage in sharing your story. 

It is appalling to see and know the impact of the assaults against you!  As church leaders and a denomination we must do much more to address the abuse of power and trust that exists when this happens to anyone and is perpetrated by someone who presents as a leader and trustworthy person providing support.  

The CRC needs more persons with the courage to share their experiences with abuse.  We need to sit up, listen very carefully, become educated on power, authority and trust positions and responsibilities so we can address this more effectively.  

Like many others who have come forward before you, you say you do not want this to happen to anyone else.  The lack of appropriate response in the church enables/fosters the abuse to continue and allows for more victims.  It also re-victimizes persons like you who come forward to report the abuse.  

I pray the church leaders will understand the need to INVITE victims to come forward and hear & support them and then DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO PREVENT it from reoccurring.  That is when we can begin to become the healing communities we are called by God to be. 

My prayer is that God may bring you healing and the church involved will revisit this abuse and change their response to one of integrity, compassion and prevention of future harm.   


I am responding very late to this story.  Its beyond heartbreaking.  I have passed this story on to a church pastor who is responding to DV.  He is responding very well and gets it.  I am also passing it on to local church safe ministry teams to heighten their awareness, as I work in our classes in BC as an Abuse Prevention & Response Coordinator.  

Hearing the real stories is so important to the education of the church and its leadership.  I applaud this author for writing this story.  It will be used for educational purposes in our classis.  

I pray God's grace and healing will surround the whole family that has been victimized in this story.  I pray the church will wake up and learn how to respond in supportive and healing, rather than destructive ways.


Welcome Amanda, 

It was great to hear more about yourself and how God has called you to this ministry and prepared the path ahead of time.  

It is the prayer of the BC Safe Church Ministry that God provides all you need in your calling and role.  We look forward to working with you as part of  God's redemptive work and plan for, in and thru his church.

I wish to also express my many thanks for and to all those who have worked towards safer churches and appropriate responses and prevention methods over the last almost 3 decades in the CRC.  The CRC has been blessed by all of these leaders and also our former Safe Church Directors Bonnie Nicholas & Beth Swagman. 

May God guide, direct, provide wisdom and immensely bless this new beginning and chapter in the life of the CRC and the Safe Church office.



thanks Amanda for an insightful article that can certainly help guide our discussions and responses to those most commonly heard comments.  The reminder you give in the below statement  

"each of these statements prioritize the offender over the victim....that in the grand scheme of things, the pain and harm inflicted on them is of less concern than the reputation and work of Mr. Zacharias, that the victims are less important and less valuable than Mr. Zacharias and his ministry" 

is very important for us to absorb/understand and remember when we wrestle through the conversations about leadership abuse and abuse of power.  

The following distinction made in this article is also particularly helpful as a guide for our conversations. 

“There but for the grace of God go I.” 

But while it is true that we are all sinners, it is not true that we are all involved in a lifetime of deception, manipulation, and predatory behavior. All sin is equally wrong, but not all sin is equally bad. Getting angry at my spouse or being jealous of my neighbor, while it may damage those relationships, is not equivalent to the destructive and devastating effects of Mr. Zacharias’ behavior on the many lives of those he abused. To suggest this equivalence is to diminish the severity of the trauma and harm that has resulted because of his sin."

My take away from this article is that leaders can benefit from becoming empowered to be able guide discussions around these comments in more helpful ways.  I pray many will share this article with fellow leaders to encourage healthy discussions around the very real issue of leadership conduct and I am proceeding to share it with many colleagues and friends. 

I am not my own by Jeremy Benjamin 

Amazing Grace - there are verses that calm and reassure

In Christ alone 

I Need You Oh I Need You 


Thank you to the staff, volunteers and Gateway church as they support the most vulnerable in our community.  I think of the work being done by this church often, as I live in this community and am a member of another CRC.  This is an example of where we as churches can step out of our comfort zones and put our faith into action.  To view and understand this vulnerable population as persons equally valued by God, created in his image and worthy of the same unconditional love God bestows on all of us is paramount to our Christian faith.  Every one of these persons deserves the same basic necessities of life and we are called to respond.  Thank you for the articles that have highlighted this ministry.  We look forward to hearing more and it also inspires us to support the ministry in ways in which we are able.  

Faye Martin  -  Abbotsford BC  

thanks Miriam for the insights in this article.  When men step up and place the responsibility of abuse where it rightfully belongs - with the person who has offended - it has a significant impact in the church. 

In my work as the Abuse Prevention and Response Coordinator for BC Safe Church - the ministry of the BCNW & BCSE Christian Reformed Churches,  and in conversations within our church communities, I often hear women make statements that imply fault and blame on victims as well.  It is not uncommon for a woman who leaves a marriage due to domestic violence to be severely judged by the church community - even the women.  The same kinds of responses also occur when a woman discloses  sexual abuse that occurred as either a child, youth or adult.  

Thoughtful, informed dialogue and sensitive listening is so important when abuse becomes known.  Learning to refrain from the judgemental "why" questions is imperative for a healthy response to persons who are living in or surviving abuse.  Your references in the article explain that well. 

I say it often...  ALL church leaders desperately need training in understanding, preventing and responding to ALL forms of abuse.  God is calling all the CRC classes and church leaders to establish functioning safe church ministries to provide that training.  Church leaders - as part of their calling - need to engage in the necessary training  to learn the effective  prevention and response  steps.

 thanks for all the work you do!

Thank you Monica for a well written article on the movie Spotlight.  In BC, the Safe Church Teams work with the directive "It takes a Whole church to be a Safe Church".  In the Safe Church work of the 2 classes in BC we are recommending ALL church leaders to watch this movie.  You have pointed out well the reasons this is so important.  It truly is the best movie/documentary style/drama available as an educational challenge to churches of all faiths. Its about ALL of us. Protestants & Catholics alike. 

Faye Martin (Safe Church Team Ministry: Classis BCSE & BCNW)


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