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On March 3rd, our global community recognized International Women's Day. Growing up in the church, I attended a congregation that limited women’s leadership roles to children’s clubs and youth groups but did not permit women to serve in leadership in the church more generally. I look back at my time spent in that church and have come to realize that I was surrounded by some very strong women who stepped into the limited spaces they were given and did a fantastic job of guiding the hearts and minds of the next generation of women. Today, as I reflect on this, I smile as I think of so many of us who have assumed roles where our voices can be heard, and have found that the church values and benefits from the leadership skills we bring to the table. I am so thankful for the women who went before us and encouraged us to trust our gifts and our callings. As I reflect on the work of Safe Church, I am so grateful that our work elevates the voices of women. It offers hope for future generations of the church.  For more on the importance of listening to women’s voices, check out Christianity Today’s webinar on Reimagining Biblical Womanhood that features our own director of Safe Church Ministry, Amanda Benckhuysen.

—Becky Jones, Editor

2022 Theme: 5 Steps to a Safer Church

Worship Resources for Abuse Awareness Sunday 2022

Abuse Awareness Sunday is the fourth week of every September. Our theme for this year, Safe Church Basics: Five Steps to a Safer Church. Throughout the year we will be hosting webinars and sharing resources designed to support your congregation in creating a safer church.

Learn More

2022 Webinar Series Announced!

Safe Church Webinar Series 2022: The Safe Church Basics

Do you feel overwhelmed by the task of making your church safe and resistant to abuse? Are you struggling with identifying what more your church can do to prevent and respond to abuse? Safe Church will be hosting 5 webinars throughout 2022 that will focus on Safe Church Basics: Five Steps to a Safer Church. Join us!

Find out more now!

March Webinar

March 2022 Safe Church Webinar: Assessing Risk

Join us on March 23rd at 12 pm Eastern for our first 2022 webinar: Assessing Risk. This webinar will feature a panel discussing abuse scenarios that have impacted Christian Reformed Church communities throughout North America. We will hear from a panel who will engage with these scenarios and then introduce a new tool from Safe Church called the Safe Church Assessment (read more about it here) which is designed to assess risk and help determine how your church can do better in preventing abuse.

Register Today!

Join Us At Inspire 2022

Safe Church Ministry Inspire 2022 Workshops

Is Your Church Safe?
In this workshop, we will talk together about common obstacles to abuse prevention in churches and share best practices. We will explore steps that you can take to make your church safer and introduce new Safe Church Ministry resources such as the new Safe Church Assessment Tool. We will also discuss the dos and don’ts of responding to allegations of abuse.
(Friday, August 5th, 10:00-11:00 am). Speaker/facilitator: Amanda Benckhuysen

Active Bystander Training
What do you do when you see someone being harmed, bullied, or mistreated? If you are a bystander witnessing a harmful situation, you have a choice to make. Learn the basics of becoming an active bystander who knows when and how to interrupt harm-doing in ways that promote positive actions by others.
(Friday, August 5th, 11:30-12:30 pm). Speaker: Becky Jones

The ACE Study: Implications for Ministry
Come find out about the study of Adverse Childhood Experiences and how families and church communities can offer important protective and mitigating factors.
(Friday, August 5th, 2:00-3:00 pm). Speaker: Tara Boer

Restorative Circle Practices:
Ways to Live Restoratively in a World Falling Apart

Come find out how the simple but profound way Restorative Practices (based on the principles of Restorative Justice) can deepen relationships, create healthier church communities and build capacity to transform conflict into opportunity. This workshop will cover: Practical ways to utilize the practices, experiencing aspects of a circle, the continuum of restorative practices, and the social discipline window.
(Friday, August 5th, 3:30-4:30 pm). Speakers: Eric Kas and Liz Tolkamp


Register Today!

Safe Church Ministry Pre-Inspire Conference, August 4th

Come early to Inspire 2022 and join us for our Being a Safe Church for Ministry Leaders pre-Inspire conference on August 4th.
Participants can choose one of two day-long training opportunities:

A. Abuse of Power Training for Ministry Leaders (ie. pastors, directors, elders or deacons). In this 6-hour workshop, participants will learn about the gift and responsibility of power and spiritual authority, how to steward authority in ways that lead to the flourishing of others, understanding abuse of power and how to prevent it, establishing healthy boundaries for oneself and for others, and cultivating a goodness culture in your congregation. This workshop fulfills the recommendation of the Addressing Abuse of Power Committee Report for all ordained pastors to participate in abuse of power training.

B. Restorative Practices Training: An Introduction to Using Restorative Circles Effectively: This one-day, six hour training, will serve as an introduction to restorative practice and a refresher course for those who have already been trained in the 3 or 4 day training. This training will give participants the knowledge and practice to understand restorative practices more deeply and plan a course of action to further become trained or use restorative practices within their congregations or communities. This pre-day conference opportunity will serve as a key training for those who are representing their congregation in the Restorative Congregation Cohorts beginning in 2022. Learn more about restorative practices and the Restorative Congregations Cohort here.

Register Today!

Monthly Update

Abuse of Power

Last Tuesday, on March 8th, following a three month investigation, the Overseers Board of the Meeting House, a multi-site megachurch in southern Ontario, issued a statement that Bruxey Cavey, one of the teaching pastors, had engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman whom he had been counselling. While Cavey publicly confessed to “an extramarital affair,” the Overseers Board identified it as an abuse of power and sexual harassment and called for Cavey’s resignation. To learn more about why this constitutes an abuse of power, see the full article posted on The Network.

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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