Dove's Nest's mission is to empower and equip faith communities to keep children and youth safe in their homes, churches, and communities. "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children" (Luke 18:16 NLT).
When Abusers Have "Done a Lot of Good"
By Alan Stucky
The thoughts in this article stem from Marissa Buck’s article on the website Our Stories Untold. Marissa’s sister Lauren wrote an article about her experience of an abusive relationship with Luke Hartman. Marissa's article mostly addresses Lindale Mennonite Church and their response. Reading Marissa’s article will help set the stage for what follows.
Last month my wife sent me the link for Marissa Buck's article on Our Stories Untold. I poured through it, which then made me go finish reading Lauren's original article. And before I say anything else I have to say, yes, I believe them; it is abuse, and it is heartbreaking. I really don't have the words to describe my emotions to their stories.
The main question that I've been pondering is how so many church leaders start by trying to appropriately respond to an abusive situation, and yet eventually find themselves a part of what appears to be a cover-up of abuse. Yes, there are people who try to cover up abuse in a genuinely manipulative way. Those people certainly exist.
Child and Youth Protection Policies
A child and youth protection policy in a faith community helps to ensure safety for children and youth. Dove's Nest recommends that every faith community develop and implement a policy suited to its context.
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Circle of Grace is a Christian safe environment curriculum that helps to form and educate children and youth about the value of positive relationships with God and others. This comprehensive, pre-k through 12th grade curriculum is designed to fit within any church's Christian education program. Circle of Grace is available FREE to Mennonite Church USA congregations and to other denominations for a suggested donation. Click here for more information.
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