Dove's Nest Blog
If a child/youth discloses abuse to you, believe the child/youth and make a report immediately to Child Protective Services or the police. Remember: you don’t have to have evidence or proof. Do not do the investigation yourself—or anything that resembles that. Cooperate with professionals who conduct the investigation.
Follow these steps:
By Jim Amstutz, Akron, Pennsylvania, a missional church coach and consultant. He was a pastor for twenty-one years in two Mennonite Church USA congregations and currently serves on several nonprofit boards that address issues of homelessness, poverty, and returning citizens. He is married to Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Restorative Justice Coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee U.S., and together they have three adult children.
1. Abuse is a crime and a sin.
For many of us, church feels good and safe. We were loved there as children and respected there as adults. In fact, we often describe our churches as “families” or caring communities where all are accepted. We trust one another, and we feel confident that others want the best for us and our families.
But for some of us, church was not only unsafe, it was destructive. Abuse by a church leader or an adult in the church community impacts us forever and can drastically change how a victim/survivor understands God.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States.
Dove's Nest encourages faith communities to take time during April to consider the plight of abused children and find practical methods to end child abuse and neglect in the communities where they live, work, and worship. Dove's Nest has developed the following resources to assist congregations during Child Abuse Prevention Month 2017.
Nominate a Mennonite Church USA individual or church that did something courageous to keep children safe!
1. Send the name of the individual and/or church and its address to kathy [at] dovesnest.net with a short paragraph describing what this individual or church has done to keep children safe. Examples: Utilizing Circle of Grace in a new, creative way. Changing facilities to increase safety. Recognizing child abuse prevention in worship or Sunday school in a significant way. Leading the way in protection training in your community.
Contributed by Jennie Wintermote, MLS, Director of the Western District Resource Library
Talking about abuse prevention with young children is essential but often difficult, and even more so during a church worship service! Below are eight books that could serve as a children’s feature (or be adapted for use) at church. Please preview the books to determine what best fits your context and time frame. Not all books will be appropriate for all congregational settings. Be sure to encourage caregivers to continue the conversation with their children after church.
By Anna Groff
I highly recommend The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Sexual Abuse by Judah Oudshoorn, Michelle Jackett, and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz. It is a short yet incredibly important book for all pastors and church leaders. It includes helpful definitions, process suggestions, and case studies. Following are four main points I took away after reading this book. Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, one of the authors, is restorative justice coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
In November, the Schowalter Foundation awarded Dove's Nest with $3,000. This money will be used to create an online Circle of Grace module for teachers that include a Teacher’s Bureau feature, a blog, networking capabilities, and video. $1,500 of the $3,000 will be used for a school-wide Circle of Grace teacher training.
By Carol Rose
Many of us know “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” I once thought that meant I needed to love perfectly.
However, “love that is whole” is a better translation of the first-century concept than the words “perfect love.”
This shift frees me to ask: How does it work? How does love that is whole cast out fear?
Here’s a story from my life:
It starts with a marble, and with the church who knew me and knew what I was going through.