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Dove's Nest Blog

Is It Possible

By Jeanette Harder, Dove's Nest Cofounder and Board President

Is it possible?

That’s a big question: is it possible to bring an individual with sex offense history into our church? After processing our emotional reaction to the question, it also spawns a lot more questions.

Children’s Dove Award Winners

North Goshen Mennonite Church received the first-ever Children’s Dove Award from Dove’s Nest at the Mennonite Church USA Orlando 2017 Convention during a reception on Wednesday, July 5.

This award was created by the Dove’s Nest board to recognize a Mennonite Church USA individual or church that did something courageous to keep children safe. 

The individual who nominated North Goshen highlighted the following ways the church has made significant efforts toward keeping children safe: 

Mentoring the Safe Way

Marlene Bogard

By Marlene Bogard, Former Dove's Nest Speaker's Bureau Member 

Congregational mentoring programs are designed to nurture a spiritual friendship—one youth to one adult. How does the mentoring relationship fit with some of the procedures that Dove’s Nest suggests?

 The “rule” that two adults be present at every event where there is youth or children's ministry may frustrate mentors as they plan times with their mentee.

Dove's Nest at Orlando 2017

The biennial Mennonite Church USA convention will take place July 4-8, 2017, in Orlando, Florida. Several of the Dove's Nest staff, board members, Speaker's Bureau members, and volunteers will be participating and leading the following fifteen seminars and events:

Dove's Nest Sponsored Event and Seminars

Reporting Abuse and Keeping the Victim at the Center

If a child/youth discloses abuse or neglect to you or you have a suspicion, believe the child/youth and make a report immediately to local authorities. 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:

A Letter to Pastors

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.

Responding to Three Common Pushbacks on Child Safety

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.

New, Free Resources for April Child Abuse Prevention Month

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. 

Children's Dove Award for Orlando 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] 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.