the Hope of Survivors

A Season of Change...—Samantha Nelson, BCBC, CBT; Co-Founder, V.P. and CEO of The Hope of Survivors

(From the October 2009 edition of HopeSpeak)

Samantha NelsonThe Hope of Survivors is taking its next step forward by making some major changes that will position us to serve optimally with extremely limited resources. It’s not easy, and it will require adjustments on everyone’s part and many prayers but, it’s all good. As the Scripture states, there is “a time to every purpose under the heaven,” and God has revealed now is the time for more of His purposes to be fulfilled. Now is the time for change.

For starters, the last remaining original board member, other than Steve and myself, and most recent board chairman, Tom Lemon, has resigned his post due to his new position at the Mid-America Union Conference. Tom has been a tremendous blessing to The Hope of Survivors and we are sad to see him resign as chairman, but are pleased he has agreed to continue to serve in an advisory capacity for the ministry and will speak at conferences and contribute articles when available to do so. You certainly haven’t seen or heard the last from him and, for that, we are especially grateful.

Martin Weber, current director and vice president of the pastoral education division of The Hope of Survivors, has been voted in as the new board chairman. We have full confidence Martin will be able to assist us in leading this ministry according to God’s will and expanding the outreach so more victims can receive the help they need and more pastors and church leaders will be educated about clergy sexual abuse so it can be prevented.

Steve Nelson remains as president and continues to serve on the board of directors, however, due to his many duties in pastoring a four-church district, he will no longer retain the position of chief executive officer. He will continue to speak at conferences and contribute in various ways as time permits.

Finally, I will be making changes as well. With the added responsibility of being chief executive officer, in addition to my current positions as counselor, director, vice president and secretary/treasurer of the organization, it has become necessary for me to make a very difficult decision. I have been blessed to counsel and provide support for nearly 600 victims of clergy sexual abuse since The Hope of Survivors began nearly seven years ago. I am encouraged each time I see God work in a victim’s life to restore her faith in God and to bring healing form such devastating abuse. My care and concern for all victims, everywhere, has not diminished, yet my capacity to serve each one who contacts the ministry is no longer feasible. I will continue to speak at conferences, contribute to the newsletter and occasionally work with victims directly, but I must recognize that it’s humanly impossible to fulfill all the responsibilities I have now and, therefore, I have decided to step aside from the counseling and victim support positions I have held for so long. Doing so will permit me to focus more on the development of the organization—the very thing we did in 2002 which made it possible for many of you to find the help you need on the web site and through the brochures.

In focusing on the greater good of the organization and those it serves, we will be able to reach more people with the message of hope and healing God desires them to hear. We will be able to develop more videos, educational materials and do more interviews through radio, TV and printed media. This will bring greater awareness of the issue, as well as of The Hope of Survivors mission and services.

This has been a difficult decision for me to make, as my heart is so closely knit with so many of you, as we have stood side-by-side through possibly the greatest trial of your life. Though I may not be in consistent contact anymore, you will remain in my heart and prayers. This is not the end of The Hope of Survivors or my work for the ministry. This is the beginning of something even greater, the next phase in God’s blueprint for His ministry.

As an organization dedicated to serving you and leading you into a closer relationship with Jesus, we have done our best to find other volunteers who are willing to assist you, and future victims, through the healing process. We still seek funding to employ a full-time counselor but, until that is available, we greatly appreciate the willingness of our volunteers to step in and assist in this time of need. You may receive responses from Coralie, Arlagene, Buffy, Jennifer, Phenessa, Josephine or others. Rest assured they are all committed to helping you and to retaining confidentiality and professionalism in all their interactions with you.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”—Ecclesiastes 3:1

Please keep The Hope of Survivors and all who are blessed by its ministry in your prayers. We seek the Lord’s blessing as we move forward, following His leading and working together to end the prevalence of clergy sexual abuse.

May God be with each of you,

Samantha Nelson

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18