#SilentCofC: It's (Past) Time to Have This Conversation
Today it was announced that another former minister in our tribe was arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. The victim reported to investigators that the abuse occurred over a period of years as she was living with the family as a foster child.
The simple truth is this...
This is not the first time that revelations like this have come out in the Churches of Christ.
But maybe, this is finally the time that we can have some constructive conversation and tangible action about this problem in our tribe.
Here is the series that has resulted so far from myself and a number of highly qualified guest contributors...
This is the introductory post of the series covers the following:
- The prevalence of child sexual abuse,
- The particular realities of this problem in communities of faith,
- Myths about child sexual abuse
- Notable incidents of CSA in Churches of Christ
Here I begin to explore the consequences of the way in which children are sidelined in the life and practices of the church. I suggest that our "segregation" of children minimizes the ability to expose children to positive adult interaction and increases the likelihood of predators engaging our children.
Here I explore this fundamental challenge and risk to one of our most celebrated "values": hat congregational autonomy has served to enable sexual predators to move from congregation to congregation with impunity.
David Duncan, minister at the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston, offers an insight into some of the strategies and expectations that are in place in the congregation he serves to protect children and prevent abuse.
Ron Clark, church planter and minister at the Agape Church of Christ in Gresham, Oregon brings an insightful post about how the church should think about and respond to victims of abuse.
Jimmy Hinton is the minister of the Somerset Church of Christ in Somerset, Pennsylvania. He leads a ministry called Church Protect which is born out of his journey to help churches after his own father's conviction (a former Church of Christ minister) of child sexual abuse. This is his personal narrative and warning about the ways in which trust is too easily earned and kept in our churches when it comes to protecting our children.
Gina South is the State Director for the Alabama Network of Children's Advocacy Centers and former professor of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies at Faulkner University. She offers a number of tangible ways that our churches can move from secretive and fearful to proactive and bold in our protection of our children.
A first-hand account from a missionary (identities have been obscured to protect the innocent) about the uncovering of an abusive individual from their supporting congregation abusing a child on the mission field. This is their struggle with the confrontation and the fallout from their supporting church. An important narrative that is not unique to our tribe, but that no longer allows us to think of it as a problem only in other Christian tradition.