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The other day I was scrolling through Facebook and happened upon a friend’s post about an event she was speaking at. She had video taped the introductory question she posed to the audience: Who knows someone who is living, or has lived in a situation of domestic violence? Stand up if you do.” She panned the audience as everyone stood up. Before she ended the recording she noted that this happens every time she poses this question at an event focused on domestic violence. This video can leave you feeling so disheartened. How is domestic violence still so prevalent in our communities? So many of us are working so hard to see an end to domestic violence, yet visual reminders like this tell us that we have a long journey still ahead of us.

However, when I closed the video, I realized I wasn’t just frustrated and sad, but I was also feeling a new sense of resolve. The video had been posted by a young adult who has stepped into the role of advocacy. She is not alone. I am not alone. This has been a season when many voices are being raised against domestic violence. Yes, it still exists and we have so much work yet to do, but I do not feel alone on this journey. I can think of the many people within our safe church community who have joined us to support the work of advocacy in this area. Our voices are becoming louder every day. Our work will make a difference.

Let us carry on, remembering the words of Micah 6:8:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

—Becky Jones, Editor

October Webinar Alert

Faith Leaders and a Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence: Discussing DV, BIPS, CCRs, and the Church

Join us October 6th at 12pm Eastern for a conversation with Rev. Michael Ten Haken (Pease CRC), Judy Pearson Director of the Pearl Crisis Center and Glenda Rittenour, Court Advocate. They will join our webinar series to discuss how they function as a Community Coordinated Response Team in Pease, Minnesota in response to domestic abuse and with battering intervention programs. Register for the Zoom Webinar here.

If you can’t make it, we still encourage you to register for the webinar so we can send you the recording.

Learn More Here

 

Restorative Practices Workshop Alert

Virtual Safe Church Workshop on Restorative Practices
with Classis Rocky Mountain:
October 26th 7p-9p Mountain Time

"At my church, we don't fight, we simmer. Then we either blow up or leave." In this workshop participants will experience through narrative and praxis the history and framework of restorative practices, and how to integrate them to further stay committed to relationships, show respect and take responsibility. Join us October 26th 7p-9p Mountain Time (9-11p Eastern). Sign up required, limited spaces available.

Learn More Here

 

Book Study: Church Called Tov

Invitation to Virtual Book Study: A Church Called TOV

Safe Church Ministry is hosting a virtual book study open to all interested in learning more about creating a TOV (good) culture in our churches! We will be reading A Church Called TOV: Forming a Goodness Culture that Resists Abuses of Power and Promotes Healing by Laura Barringer and Scot Mcknight. Join us Monday evenings at 7:30 pm Eastern/ 4:30 pm Pacific for Our first session was excellent! There is still space for you to join the conversation! The book club runs through October 25th.

Read more about the concept in the article in the Christian Courier: Being Tov Churches.

Join us by registering here: Google Forms.

Learn More Here

 

Voicing our perspectives

The time to regulate social media platforms has come

Kathy Vandergrift is a member of classis eastern Canada safe church team. She is a public policy analyst,  and brings experience in government, social justice work and a Master’s Degree in Public Ethics to her reflections she has shared with us through the Christian Courier. Vandergrift offers some perspective on the impact of social media, specifically for our youth, and steps the Canadian government is taking to safeguard them.

Read Article

 

Save the Date

November Safe Church Webinar with Beth Allison Barr

Where do the ideas about womanhood that have long circulated in the evangelical Christian community come from? Are they biblical?  In this webinar, Amanda and Elaine will talk with Beth Barr about her new book, The Making of Biblical Womanhood and discuss what the Bible does and does not say about women and women’s roles.  They will also reflect together on the impact ideas about biblical womanhood have had on women and abuse in the church.

Register Today

 

To pause and reflect 

Reflections for National Truth and Reconciliation Day

September 30th 2021 marked the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. It coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots commemoration marked by the wearing of Orange Shirts for children forced to leave their families and attend residential schools. As Safe Church, we lament the significant loss of life that has occurred through the residential school system as well as the abuse that so many innocent children suffered during their time there.

We are thankful for the CRC Canadian Indigenous Ministry Committee for creating this guided reflection for us.

Read Article

 

Safe Church Ministry has added an important feature to our website - a new hotline phone number. This number will enable you to reach the Safe Church team directly. If you have concerns about a situation of abuse, call 1-877-272-6206.  We are here to support you!

Monthly Update

Abuse of Power

Some of our readers have been asking about abuse of power - what constitutes abuse of power and how we can recognize it.  The “Addressing Abuse of Power” committee report that was presented to Synod 2019 is a fantastic resource that provides a helpful overview of abuse of power.  It can now be found at www.crcna.org under “Reports” on the Synod Resources page (www.crcna.org/synodresources).

In the report, abuse of power is defined as “‘misusing power to harm another person or using power and influence for personal gain at the expense of another person.’ This captures the core in a wide range of types of abuse, from bullying and harassment to emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual assault. It focuses attention on the misuse of a position, authority, or influence to take advantage of, manipulate, or control another person.”  (p. 592, Acts of Synod, 2019).

In line with this definition, we at Safe Church have found two considerations helpful in assessing whether a situation constitutes abuse of power:

•  Whose needs are being met through the exercise of power? Who is flourishing because of the actions of a leader or leadership team and who is being harmed?  When a leader or leadership team exercise power well, it benefits those over whom power is exercised and empowers those with minimal power.  When this is not the case, it is often a situation where power is being abused.

•  How would the actions of a leader or leadership team be perceived if they were fully transparent to the public? It can be easy for those with power to justify their actions to themselves. Whether an action (and the processes that led to the action) can be explained in a way that would satisfy an inquiring public, however, can be a revealing criteria for assessing whether power has been used appropriately.

At Safe Church, we have found these two criteria helpful even for ourselves as we consider how we steward the positional and relational power that has been granted to us. For this reason, we pass them on to all of you with the hope that we can work together on holding each other accountable to using our power in ways that lead to the flourishing of others.

For more on abuse of power, see the “Addressing Abuse of Power” committee report.

One day, Christ will return to establish a kingdom 
where there will be no more tears or heartache or reason to fear, 
where threats of harm, violence, manipulation, and bullying will cease, 
where justice, truth, and goodness will prevail, 
and where every person, 
regardless of gender, age, color, nationality, or ability, 
will be seen, valued, and loved.

You can help us lean into this hope today.

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