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Dove's Nest Blog

Involving Children in the (Virtual) Worshipping Community

In March, as houses of worship were responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, my congregation scrambled to discover ways to worship without gathering in person. We hoped that the entire worshipping community would experience a smooth transition from worship in the sanctuary to worship at home. For adults, we trust that worship will feel right through the familiar weave of music, prayer, scripture, and sermon. But for children?

Resting in Shalom


I live in South-Central Elkhart, Indiana, once a vibrant and safe African American community—a community where everyone looked out for each other. In the wake of our new crisis, I find myself dreaming of what our community used to be and how we can get back to it.

Examples of Worship Practices that Use Consent

As a member of the board of Dove’s Nest, an independent Anabaptist nonprofit working to protect children from all types of child abuse and neglect, I’ve become more and more aware of the ways humans experience touch, and the sensitivity that all Christians are called to use when touching one another.

As a pastor, I’m aware of the ways my touch matters: laying on of hands for the sick, blessing new babies, hugs of greeting, passing the peace, baptizing people, anointing, footwashing and more.

Book Supports Plain Community Abuse Awareness

Jeanette Harder had not even received a printed copy of her new book when she learned that 740 fresh-off-the-press copies had been handed out at a conference. 

Dr. Harder, cofounder of Dove’s Nest, authored For the Sake of a Child: Love, Safety, and Abuse in Our Plain Communities (Ridgeway Publishing, 2019) with Allen Hoover, a horse-and-buggy Old Order Mennonite.

Four Ways to Support a Child Survivor of Abuse

1. Address the survivors’ and all other children’s physical and body safety first. Children, youth, and adults should practice consent in all areas of their lives. Consent is an active, voluntary verbal agreement. It means asking before giving a hug. It means listening to a “no.” It means respecting children’s boundaries and finding ways to connect with them that do not necessarily involve physical interaction. (Dove’s Nest offers a variety of different trainings on healthy boundaries and consent.)