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.
Dove's Nest Blog
By Anna Groff
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.
By Anna Groff
I encourage you to watch the movie Spotlight with your friends, small group or Sunday school class. Not only is it an incredible movie, but it can lead to eye-opening conversations.
Spotlight, which takes place beginning in 2001, shows a team at the Boston Globe investigate cases of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in the Boston diocese.
By Marathana Prothro
Oh, the awkwardness of unsolicited hugs. Most parents have experienced uncomfortable—even dreaded—moments when our child refuses to hug or kiss someone who truly has the purest of intentions.
I think we too often cave to societal pressures to either avoid embarrassment or protect the feelings of others. Instead, we should empower children to trust and respect their own intuition and set their own boundaries.
By Brenda Yoder, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Speaker's Bureau Member
I came across a beautiful photo on my Instagram feed. It was lovely. Everything was propped and proportioned so meticulously. It had shoes and travel accessories laid out on a surface with a beautiful baby—about one year old, with a flat look on her face—lying on her back in a suitcase.
The symmetry and colors in the photo were stunning. The caption was great.
By Dove’s Nest Staff and Board Members
1. Ask your children how they felt about a new experience at school. Rather than simply asking “What did you do today?” ask “What was your favorite part? What are you most proud of? Did you ever feel unsafe?”
2. Inquire about your school's protection policy, especially if it is a private school. Encourage Christian schools to teach Circle of Grace, a Christian safe environment curriculum for kindergarten through twelfth grade.
By Jeanette Harder, Dove's Nest Cofounder and Board President
We all need to be safe. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety is even more important than our needs for belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Safety is second only to having our most basic needs met (e.g., food, water, shelter).
I remember feeling safe as a child during thunderstorms, even tornadoes—as long as my parents were nearby and I had my pillow. I remember feeling safe at church, surrounded by adults and children who cared about me and valued me.
By Jan Slabaugh, Dove’s Nest Speaker’s Bureau and Board Member
Jan, Anna Groff, and Jeanette Harder (in photo) traveled to northern New York in June as a learning tour to build relationships with the Plain communities in that area. Dove’s Nest offers cultural competency training for social service systems and workers to better relate to Amish and Old Order Mennonites. More information about that training can be found HERE.
Remember the things you did as a child: playing in puddles after a spring rain, having the summer breeze blow through your hair, harvesting vegetables from the garden in the fall, or sledding down a big hill on a runner sled!
By Alan Stucky
Fear of being falsely accused of sexual misconduct or abuse can cause significant pause for pastors when hearing victims’ stories of abuse, sexual or otherwise, particularly when the accusations are leveled against church leaders. This fear of false accusations leads to the thought, “Well, maybe the story isn’t true.”
As I did some self-reflection to examine where this fear comes from, I began to wonder if it was based in reality or not. How often do people actually falsely accuse someone of abuse?