Monday, July 11, 2011

End of Day Two - Sexual Abuse

The other resolution brought to today's Assembly was an outline of how congregation's might both protect and minister to victims/survivors of Sexual Abuse in the Church.  Now this is honest talk.
The resolution original used wording to only refer to victims of Sexual Abuse.  Some of the delegates asked if the resolution could be amended to reflect that indeed there are victims of sexual abuse as well as survivors.  One who has suffered from sexual abuse is at first a victim. With God's grace and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, these individuals move to being sexual abuse survivors.
In many congregations and denominations, these persons have been neglected and ignored.  The gift of ordained ministry carries with it a holy responsibility to be healers not predators.  We all have heard stories of how some parts of the Church have sought to protect and even move abusers to new contexts of ministry thinking that a new placement will stop the behavior.  What we have found is that such actions have only allowed the abuser to continue to act in predatory ways.  It is an uncomfortable subject, but the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has sought to be honest and take strong measures to make sure we act faithfully and with do care in being a church of high ethics.
The resolution will be revised to reflect better wording and brought back to the Assembly.  I have no doubt that it will pass.  The true test, however, will be the implementation of it in local congregations.  High ethics of all who do ministry in the church, both ordained and lay, should be the norm.  Pray for those who came to the Church for healing and were further wounded.  Pray for the abusers as well, that they might know God's grace and seek to be accountable for the sake of their own souls and healing.

Summary of the day:
The day ended with a service in the model of Emergent Worship, which is both a contemporary music setting with meaningful liturgy and ritual that draws the worshiper closer to the Creator.  Worship is a transforming event that leads the human being to the throne of a divine and loving God. Although you might not be surprised that I tend to draw more meaning from the ancient liturgy of the Church's history, it is good that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) seeks to reach out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people.  Christ did not come to establish a pattern of worship, but to radically change lives of both individuals and all of creation.  At the heart of Disciples worship is the meeting of Christ and one another at the Lord's Table.  Thanks be to God!

No comments: