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While January is technically the start of a new year, I have always felt like September should have been given that title. As August comes to a close, everyone starts preparing for new adventures: the new school year and a return to a more focused work schedule after the relaxed pace of summer. This year, more than any other I have lived through, there is so much to anticipate: What will the school year look like when we are still living through a pandemic but trying to return to the classroom? What does the work landscape look like as many businesses are opening up again?

There is a great deal of uncertainty, and perhaps a bit of unrest as we collectively attempt to start back to routines in September that have been upended so drastically due to the pandemic. We all need a fair bit of grace as we enter this new season together.

For Safe Church ministry, September is a very important time for us as we encourage all churches to focus on Abuse Awareness Sunday on September 26th. This year our theme is: Safe Church Ministry: Not Just a Policy, a Way of Being the Church. Take time to consider: how can your community foster spaces that make people feel safe? Safe Church would like to invite churches to imagine a more holistic approach to nurturing a safe and healthy church community where abuse itself becomes unthinkable and where survivors feel supported and safe.

We look forward to another year of serving our community and supporting you as you continue to work to create safe spaces within your church community.

—Becky Jones, Editor

September Town Hall Meeting

Safe Church Town Hall: September 8th, 7pm Eastern

Calling all coordinators, Safe Church classis team members, Classis Clerks, Classis Chairs, Congregational Safe Church Leader and friend of Safe Church! On September 8th, from 7:00 - 8:30 pm, Safe Church Ministry staff will host a town hall. Come ready to hear about our vision for the year to come, meet other safe church volunteers, and learn about our newest resources that will support your work with Safe Church ministry. Looking forward to seeing you there!   

Register Today

October Webinar Alert!

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

This webinar will be a conversation with Rev. Michael Ten Haken (Pease CRC), Judy Pearson Director of the Pearl Crisis Center and Glenda Rittenour, Court Advocate, 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

 

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 Five weeks, starting September 27th through October 25th.

Join us by registering here.

Learn More Here

Preparing for Abuse Awareness Sunday

Worship Resources for Abuse Awareness Sunday 2021

Sunday, September 26th is Abuse Awareness Sunday. This year our theme is Safe Church Ministry: Not Just a Policy, a Way of Being the Church. In anticipation of this Sunday, Safe Church has put together a number of resources to help you incorporate abuse awareness into your worship service.  Consider, for instance, a sermon on Galatians 6:2, exploring what it means for a congregation to help carry the burdens of those who are survivors of abuse. Or a prayer of lament and dedication that grieves the harm done to those who have been abused and commits to coming alongside survivors in their journey toward healing.  Or play our new video during the offering to inspire greater abuse prevention and awareness in your congregation. Check out this link for more ideas and resources to help raise abuse awareness in your congregation!

Resources

 

Webinar Recording now available

August Safe Church Webinar Recording: On Being a Trauma-Informed Congregation

Watch this conversation with Dr. Dawn Gibson and Pastor Anthony Gibson on Trauma-Informed Congregations.

View the recording of the webinar at our Youtube Channel here!

Read Here

 

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 the church.

Register Today

Monthly Update

Abuse of Power

On July 7, 2021, Christianity Today published the article, “NDAs kept these Christians silent. Now they are speaking out against them.”  NDA’s, non-disclosure agreements, have recently come under scrutiny in the Christian community.  These legal documents that were developed to prevent former employees from sharing industry trade secrets have been used (or misused) more widely in Christian organizations and churches to silence survivors from disclosing abuse and misconduct by ministry leaders.

While the CRCNA does not use NDA’s per se, we do have language about non-disparagement in separation agreements that has functioned to silence survivors.  In response to the directive of Synod 2019 to “develop a policy with criteria for the use of NDAs that limits their use to cases in which it is clearly in the best interests of the victim and the church,” several denominational staff came together to look at our standard separation agreements.  With the aim of fostering transparency and to allow for abuse to be brought into the light, we developed a proposal that removes non-disparagement language from separation agreements altogether. This initial work is limited to separation agreements for denominational staff.  However, conversations are already underway to revise the standard separation agreement recommended to churches to encourage greater transparency in cases of abuse.

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.

Christian Reformed Church in North America
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3475 Mainway, Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8

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