(From the October 2011 edition
Below are some of the highlights from the events that took place throughout the Clergy Sexual Abuse Awareness & Prevention campaign:
- Steve & Samantha Nelson were guests on the program God Answers Prayer, hosted by Ted Gonzales and Linda Cobb on KCHF-TV (Son Broadcasting) in Santa Fe, NM.
- Volunteers Gail & Elgin Jenkins staffed The Hope of Survivors’ exhibit at the Pacific Union Conference Session & Ministerial Council held in Ontario, CA. Gail reported things went very well, with many pastors and leaders requesting more information about the organization and more involvement with other initiatives to end abuse within the church. Both English and Spanish booklets, as well as the Enough Is Enough, buttons were distributed at this event.
Update of benefit concert held in Simpsonville, SC, August 6, 2011:
We were blessed to be able to participate in the Clergy Sexual Abuse Awareness month by hosting a benefit concert at Word of Life International Ministries in Simpsonville,SC. We had anointed musicians and singers that lead us straight into the presence of God. The testimonies were filled with hope and healing. I was so inspired by the bravery of those who stood up and shared their experiences with us. Our attendance was low, but that was to be expected when breaking new ground in an area that is saturated with clergy sexual and spiritual abuse. I believe that those in attendance were ordained to be there. We are hoping to do another CSA Awareness event within the next six months or so. We realize that we will have to continue to plow the spiritual ground in the upstate area of South Carolina and stand firm in our resolve to eradicate CSA from the Body of Christ. I want to thank Hope of Survivors for their support and contribution to this event. May God richly bless you as you continue to bring hope and healing to survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse.
Soul Care Ministries
Update of benefit concert held in Vancouver, WA, August 19, 2011:
A gathering of about 30 people was present for the concert and testimonies held at Oasis Christian Center, in Vancouver, Washington, on 8/19/11. The concert presented “spiritual-recovery music” by Linda B-K (Linda Beldin-Korter, LCSW) accompanied by the Awaken Music Band with Rob Louis and Jeff Hancutt. Three survivors of clergy sexual abuse presented testimonies. Linda, who also described the progressive steps that occurred in the process of the abuser towards the victim, presented the closing testimony. The program flier also included Progressive Steps To Healing (from clergy sexual abuse), also from Linda’s personal experience. This event was felt to be positive, spiritual, Jesus-centered, and uplifting to all present.
Some (who were unable to make it to the concert) checked out The Hope of Survivors’ website and were amazed at how in-depth it was and grateful that THOS is available. One pastor (not at the concert) also told of how he found out many years after the fact that a member of the clergy had abused one of the women attending his church; he spoke about how difficult recovery was for her.
Reported by Linda Beldion-Korter, LCSW
Update of Hope & Healing Conference held in Plainfield, IN, August 28, 2011:
The awareness campaign month ended with a grand finale—the Hope & Healing Conference for victims, held in Indianapolis (Plainfield), IN. Dr. Martin Weber (board chair), Steve & Samantha Nelson, and Sandy Kirkham presented at this event where victims from CA, NY and many places in between attended. We’ll let the responses speak for themselves:
“I am so glad I was there today. Thanks to you and Steve and Martin and the rest of the board for the good work you do.”—CA
“What a blessed time for me and my husband! Thank you for the hope and healing you've given to me and countless others who were pursued, used, and abused by spiritual leaders. It was definitely worth the drive and the vacation day we both took! :-)”—NY
“What an amazing day! Thank you all for sharing your time and energy! What a blessing you all are to us! Thank you with all my heart!”—IN
“Thank you to everyone who works at The Hope Of Survivors. The Hope & Healing Conference is a blessing!”—IN
“I so much appreciated the time we shared yesterday. I definitely came away much more clear on the line of abuse vs. adultery. I think this was one area that truly was torturing my heart… The seminar was very helpful…”—MI
“Thank you for coming, for your time, for the giving of yourselves.”—IN
“Thank you to all of you who helped and presented!! I feel refreshed, blessed, encouraged and HOPE-ful!”—MI
“Great! Real stories bring others into understanding on so many levels. I feel balanced.”—WA
“Everything was great. Thank you for your ministry! We both have been blessed in coming!”—NY
“All information was very helpful. Being a husband, I could really connect with Steve’s story.”—NY
“Amazing weekend for us! God again did more than we asked or imagined....”—NY
“We were both pleasantly surprised at how encouraging it was, not depressing, but a blessing! It was so great meeting everyone! Although it is unfortunate we experienced clergy sexual abuse, we are extremely fortunate to find hope and healing in our God! Thank you THOS for this conference and for speaking the truth!”—NY
“The Hope & Healing conference in Indianapolis was inspiring and uplifting, as Samantha, Steve, Martin, and Sandy all did a fantastic job explaining and educating us all about clergy sexual abuse. They all used their own past experiences as inspiration and as proof that there is hope to overcome and heal from abuse. The materials were presented in a very easy to understand fashion and the presenters made sure the atmosphere in the room was peaceful and inviting to all who attended. They made sure that everyone knew they were welcome and that their lives can be changed for the better.
I greatly appreciated all the presenters taking time away from their busy lives and full time jobs to help everyone who attended gain a better understanding of clergy sexual abuse. I look forward to the next one!”—Heather Brockett, IL
The following letter from a pastor who attended was a great encouragement as well:
September 1, 2011,
Hi Steve and Samantha,
I want to thank you for the Hope & Healing Conference you held in Indiana. It was very well done. As a pastor, my initial feeling regarding the Ministry Description was that it could lead to more distrust and disrespect toward the pastoral ministry. (Ministry Description: Support, Hope and Healing for Victims of Pastoral Sexual Abuse.)
However, one of the things that impressed me about the conference was how you elevated the work of the pastoral ministry. You communicated very effectively the high calling and influence of the ministry.
I have known clergy who have had to leave or should have been asked to leave the ministry as a result of inappropriate sexual behavior. I have also counseled individuals who have been victims of this kind of abuse.
You communicate with much sensitivity and balance and truly lead people to hope and healing as a result of what you do and the example you have set. The video you put together is very well done.
I would recommend a conference inviting you to do a seminar for pastors.
We thank God for giving us the opportunity to minister to victims of clergy sexual abuse and to facilitate their healing process, by His grace. Your support makes these much-needed conferences possible. Thank you!