Dove's Nest Blog
By Melissa Florer-Bixler, Pastor, Raleigh Mennonite Church
During Holy Week, I gather up our flock of children at the front of the sanctuary. “I have a surprise to tell you,” I whisper into the mic, excitement in my eyes. I hand out an envelope to each child. Inside is a piece of paper that says, “He is risen!” On the outside I’ve written the words “Don’t open until Easter.”
By Anna Groff
When I was a student at a Mennonite high school, there was a succession of male students who publicly disclosed their past “struggles” with pornography in chapel talks. They usually said that through scripture, prayer, and perhaps accountability with other male peers, they overcame the temptation to continue to view pornography.
As a young woman, these disclosures left me unsettled.
By Katherine Burkey Wiens, MEd, LPC
Words matter. They have immense power to either encourage or discourage. Words also form images in our minds. When words are used to describe a person or group of people, those words often create specific pictures that influence how others see them. The source of the words also matters. The more influential and important that person is, the more impact his or her words have.
By Anna Groff, executive director
Victim blaming is so ingrained in our culture that we do it without realizing it. At least we are starting to talk about it more—acknowledging victims are judged based on how they were dressed, if they were drinking, how they acted, etc.
When it comes to children, though, victim blaming is more subtle and harder to address.
1. Model healthy boundaries:
- Do not engage in intimate or flirtatious interactions with campers or other staff. Consider how your behaviors may be perceived or misconstrued by others.
- Be modest when changing clothes, in bathrooms, and in swimming areas.
- Be aware of when you are tired, thirsty, or need a break, and take care of yourself. Make sure the campers do too. Most kids are not able to self-regulate well and may lose control of themselves when they become exhausted or overstimulated.
- Children and youth who appear to lack boundaries are often the ones who need boundaries the most.
“Thank you so much for talking about this,” a teenager at Tabor Mennonite Church said more than once.
I talked with youth, grades 6–12, about pornography at Tabor Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas, on a Saturday evening in February. The youth discussed the reality of pornography and sexting in society and in their communities. The kids were loved and supported by the adults and youth workers among them as they honestly shared. The time with the youth group was sacred.
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 2018.