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On September 25th Safe Church encourages all our churches to participate in Abuse Awareness Sunday. There are many ways in which your church can do this. Our ministry has developed a number of resources for you to access - litanies, prayers, videos and bulletin inserts. This year the focus for this Sunday is a back to basics - a review of some key aspects of abuse prevention that will help your church create a space that is free from abuse. The past few years have been a great challenge for the church in the area of abuse prevention. We have watched with deep sadness as so many leaders of churches have been found guilty of abuse. While we grieve the devastating impact this has had on so many, we respond to this call to action to develop better abuse prevention strategies and ensure that we continue to educate our church communities on abuse prevention. Join us in making our churches safer places for everyone.

—Becky Jones, Editor

Abuse Awareness Sunday - September 25

Worship Resources for Abuse Awareness Sunday 2022

As a denomination, we have designated every fourth Sunday in September as “Abuse Awareness Sunday.” One way your church can recognize Abuse Awareness Sunday is to acknowledge the ugly reality of abuse in the worship service through the use of a litany, sermon/message around the theme of abuse, or prayer. We have created a number of resources for your church to integrate into the service. Also, consider designating an offering for Safe Church on this Sunday to support the wider denominational efforts to be safe communities for those who participate in our ministries.

September Webinar Announced!

September 2022 Safe Church Webinar Webinar:
Step 4 - Practice Being Restorative

Join us September 21 at 12 pm EDT for our 4th webinar in our Safe Church Basics series. How can congregations practice being restorative while planning for the future, making decisions, and spreading the gospel in a world that sometimes feels like it is falling apart? How can the church move forward after change and loss? Do we have the capacity to listen, stay committed to relationships, take responsibility for actions and respect one another through it all? All of this may sound exhausting, but when we take shortcuts in our families, organizations, and congregations, we often react out of our anxiety which slights relationships, evades responsibility and may lead to various levels of harm and abuse. This webinar will introduce you to many of the restorative practice trainers in the CRCNA, resources, and opportunities for future training.

Register Here

July Webinar Recording Available

July 2022 Safe Church Webinar Recording Available

In the 3rd webinar of our Safe Church Basics series, we looked at ways to develop engaging and creative safe church training for our church communities. All church leaders and volunteers should know what constitutes abuse, how to spot it, and what is expected of them to prevent and respond to abuse well.

View Recording Here


Domestic Violence Awareness Webinar Announced!

Selah-Empowers: Domestic Violence Awareness Webinar

National domestic violence awareness month happens in October in the U.S. and in November in Canada. On Thursday, October 13th, 12pm (EST) Safe Church is hosting a webinar with Selah Empowers. Selah offers support that empowers lives and homes; and was started out of Heritage Christian Reformed Church in Byron Center in 2018 when its leadership recognized the need to offer help through the church for those victimized by abuse. Selah is working to address that need by offering weekly online and in-person support classes as well as offering other free resources, education, and support to individuals. Learn more about Selah Empowers and our webinar here!

Register Here

Reflections on Inspire 2022!

Safe Church Ministry at Inspire 2022

During Inspire 2022, Safe Church led three workshops. It was wonderful to be able to connect with volunteers and lay leaders within the church. If you are interested in any of the workshops that were offered through Safe Church during Inspire, please reach out to us at Safechurchministry@crcna.org to receive further information.


Reflections on Inspire workshops:

It seems that not a week goes by when we don’t read a story in the news about abuse in the church. During Inspire, a group of us gathered to reflect on how our respective churches might respond to various situations of misconduct and abuse and in what ways we could make our churches safer. Safe Church staff also shared best practices, discussed key protocols, and introduced new resources that are designed to help churches in their efforts to become places where all are free to worship and grow in faith free from abuse. For more information on hosting your own “Is Your Church Safe?” training, visit this link: Is Your Church Safe?

During Inspire, lay leaders from various churches across North America came together to participate in the Active Bystander Training. Our discussion focused on everyday situations where we need to do a better job at standing up for others and how to do that well. We all have the ability to advocate for others and learning techniques in which we can support others who are dealing with injustice is vital as we build community. For more information on hosting your own training, visit this link: Active Bystander Training

The workshop on restorative circle practices was attended by about 15 participants who engaged with several circle exercises and reflected on how the core framework of restorative practice can deepen relationships, create healthier church communities and build capacity to transform conflict into opportunity. If you are interested in learning more about restorative practices visit: crcna.org/safechurch/restorative.

Monthly Update: Abuse of Power

Guidelines Updated

This past summer, Synod 2022 approved a revision to both the Advisory Panel Process and the Appeals process in cases of abuse. Among other things, the proposal included:

  • A definition of emotional abuse, expanding the kinds of abuse by ministry leaders which the church is encouraged to assess and address through the advisory panel process;
  • A new requirement for church visitors to provide the council support, accountability, and encouragement as they respond to allegations of abuse by a ministry leader;
  • The development of a 60-minute training on abuse, its impact, and the process for handling abuse allegations well for the church visitors and councils who are dealing with situations of abuse by a ministry leaders;
  • Criteria for when to make use of an independent investigator;
  • Greater measures of education, accountability, and care for those affected by abuse when the decision of a council regarding allegations are appealed to classis.

These revisions are now incorporated into the “Guidelines for Handling Abuse Allegations against a Ministry Leader” and can be found here.

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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This monthly e-newsletter is a ministry of Christian Reformed Church in North America.

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