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Dove's Nest Blog

A Petition and Prayer

Gracious God, we petition you from a world in dire need of your grace and peace.

Our children need our continuing protection amidst the death-dealing conditions of a coronavirus pandemic and racial discrimination.

We cry out in lament for the impacts of this uncertain time on our children
—rhythms of school and play are disrupted; customs and rituals are curtailed and circumscribed; familiar routines have dropped into uncertainty.

Raising Children in a Racially Unjust America

So that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. —Ephesians 3:10

Prior to the racial justice uprising this summer, a group at my church read Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey. I am learning that, by default, many of us who are white are raised to be colorblind. We are told to not notice differences. “Oh, we’re all the same on the inside,” white children hear from adults, in books, and in movies. This attitude is not compassionate. Racism thrives when white people do not address it in their families and communities.

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.