Safe Church Ministry  |  July 2016
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Summer, Synod, and More

People often ask whether things are slower during the summer with Safe Church Ministry. It’s true that there are fewer workshops and conferences going on during the summer, which can mean less travel and less public speaking. Yet every June, we have a week of Synod meetings, which give us an opportunity to interact, present Safe Church, and follow up with safe church related issues as needed. Our annual Safe Church mailing also takes place during the summer, in preparation for Abuse Awareness Sunday, which comes up pretty quickly in September. Situations (cases or allegations of abuse) don’t seem to take much of a break during the summer; consultation regarding situations happens in varying degrees year round. Additionally, (though we’re getting a late start this year) this will be the third summer with a part time (10 hours/week) summer student intern here in the office. Hiring someone takes a bit of effort, but we’ve been very blessed by each of our student interns. And of course this year we are busy planning for our bi-annual conference. So, things don’t slow down too much in this ministry.

Synod 2016 dealt with Church Articles 82-84 and their Supplements, which pertain to reinstatement after church leader misconduct. Synod approved all of the recommendations from our committee. There are some who will say that the recommendations don’t go far enough. Yet, it’s a good step in the right direction and represents real progress, especially in acknowledging the power differential inherent in ministry relationships. More information about what took place at Synod can be found here. The full report can be found in the Agenda to Synod 2016 Supplement – Appendix B pp. 1-19. Soon we begin the work of creating a resource that is accessible to congregations (especially church councils), which can provide practical guidance in the midst of these situations (it may include parts of the report). I will be seeking input as this resource is developed. If you are a safe church team member and would like to be part of the team that provides input, please let me know.  Send an email to that says, “I’d like to provide input on the resource for church leader misconduct” and I’ll be in touch.
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Safe Church Conference: We’re Better Together

The Safe Church Ministry conference will take place in Grand Rapids on Nov. 3-5. We really are better together; the conference provides invaluable opportunities for connection and networking as well as new learning. And you can be a part of it wherever you are with the opportunity to live-stream two of our plenary events! Now is the time to begin planning to attend. Safe Church Ministry takes everyone working together to make it happen – come and be a part
of it.

Read more here »

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Walking with our Elders

We are not created to walk this journey alone. We need one another, and particularly those who have gone before to be our examples and show us the way.  Discover these lessons from a very wise elder here Â»

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Fear of False Allegations

There are a lot of reasons victims’ stories of abuse or assault are often not taken seriously in the church. It’s difficult to believe that this really happens, especially when it involves someone we know and care about. We fear of what a false allegation could do to someone’s reputation and career.  Is this a valid fear?  

Read more here »


The Hope of Survivors

The Hope of Survivors offers support, hope, and healing for those who have experienced clergy sexual abuse. Their website contains a wealth of information on this important topic, with resources for individuals, for congregations, and for church leaders. Sexual abuse is devastating, and especially so when experienced by a church leader; a sacred trust has been broken. Hope of Survivors sponsors a campaign every August designed to raise awareness about this important issue. Perhaps you or your congregation would like to join in to say Enough is Enough »

Upcoming Event

Don’t Forget! September 25 is Abuse Awareness Sunday! How will you help raise awareness about abuse in your congregation this year? Find resources here »


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