In my decade or so of looking for church-based ministries to clergy sexual abuse survivors, I have yet to find such a ministry. Not only has clergy sexual abuse directly harmed the abused, but it has also harmed their families, friends and other members of faith communities.
There are professional treatment centers for abusers who are in the clergy: there are none, to my knowledge, for their victims. Instead, churches of many denominations sadly leave survivors to secular therapists and anonymous support groups for help.
Some survivors have had their faith lives shattered and feel no desire to engage with others in a Christian setting. Others still have faith in God, Jesus, and the Bible, but don’t feel welcome in a church setting due to their exposure of wrong-doing on the part of the offending pastors.
Not all survivors are able to attend clergy sexual abuse survivor support groups in person – particularly if they live in remote areas.
There appear to be a number of survivors who feel called to help prevent abuse and to help support healing in other survivors, but struggle to launch a ministry solely using their own limited resources.
To help people of goodwill – survivors, their supporters, church members – to pool expertise, experience, and human as well as other resources to map out a path towards prevention of abuse and high-quality support for those directly and indirectly affected by abuse, I am inviting people of such goodwill to join online discussions on related topics, such as sharing:
- Your own efforts to launch a ministry related to clergy sexual abuse
- How you are moving forward after having experienced clergy sexual abuse (or having had a loved one experience it). These groups can be for general participation or restricted to persons abused as children, persons abused as adults, and so on). At the moment, these are informal peer-level meetings. At some point, perhaps some qualified therapists can host their own discussions.
- How you as a religious leader have been affected by wrong-doing on the part of your peers
- How the Bible, prayer or other spiritual discipline may be helping you to persevere
A draft ‘vision’ of the effort is outlined on http://www.listeningplace.ca (when I have some more $’s, I’ll invest in a fancier website 🙂 ).
If you are interested in being part of these discussions, please contact me through http://www.listeningplace.ca .
Reaching out may take you out of your comfort zone – offering this effort certainly takes me out of mine. If you feel ready to take a step in working with others in this effort, please consider being in touch.