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Helpful Resources


Help for raising awareness

Is Nothing Sacred? A timely case study, designed for congregations for preventing and finding effective solutions for sexual abuse against congregants by clergy, by the Rev. Marie M. Fortune (Cleveland: The United Church Press, 1999).

A Sacred Trust: Boundary Issues for Clergy and Spiritual Teachers. A program of four training videos that increase awareness of the need for healthy boundaries in the clergy-congregant or student-teacher relationship. Available through the Faith Trust Institute.

Annotated Bibliography of Clergy Sexual Abuse. The phenomenon of sexual abuse as committed by persons in fiduciary relationships is widespread among helping professions. Those who perpetrate these violations are not confined to any nation. This bibliography is oriented to several specific contexts in which this phenomenon occurs. By James S. Evinger. Available through the Faith Trust Institute.

Help for rebuilding trust

Courageous Conversations Part of our work and witness as people of faith is to lead our culture into the most relevant, critical, and courageous conversations. Overcoming our fear and discomfort for the sake of God’s beloved people and the well-being of all is something Presbyterians understand. We want to be known as those who open up spaces for healing, peace, and reconciliation in cultures of violence, including our own.

Take and Make Holy — Honoring the Sacred in the Healing Journey of Abuse Survivors. By Marie West Zinnerman. Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago, IL 1995.

Forgiveness and Abuse: Jewish and Christian Reflections. Edited by Marie Fortune and Joretta Marshall. The Haworth Press, Inc. 2002 (pp. 71-85).

FutureChurch — A Liturgy of Lament for the Broken Body of Christ. This liturgy was developed in response to a survivor of clergy sexual abuse who asked FutureChurch to sponsor a healing service for victims. The liturgy was used in a service that was held in Cleveland on October 14, 2002, and involved 22 co-participants from northeastern Ohio. The liturgy includes music and prayer written by a Cleveland survivor of sexual abuse who is also a musician. The complete liturgy is provided in PDF format for download. It includes a detailed planning guide, diagrams of stations that were set up in the worship space, a participants’ booklet, the message that was preached and original music composed specifically for this service.

Recovering from Un-Natural Disasters is a must-read handbook for pastors and church leaders of communities who could or perhaps already have experienced an un- natural disaster, such as gun violence, suicides, or sexual abuse. Written by Laurie Kraus, David Holyan, and Bruce Wismer. Published by Westminster John Knox Press. Order here.

Help for creating policies

Surely Heed their Cry. A Presbyterian guide to child abuse prevention and healing. This comprehensive guide contains information on abuse identification, abuse prevention, and educational material. PC(USA) Church Store Item # 25793010 • $5.00

Preventing Sexual Abuse in Congregations. By Karen A. McClintock. The Alban Institute, Herndon, Va., 2004.

Safe Sanctuaries for Youth – Reducing the Risk of Abuse in Youth Ministries. By Joy Thornburg Melton, Discipleship Resources, Nashville, Tenn. Available from Cokesbury.

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed this resource to assist youth-serving organizations as they begin to adopt prevention strategies for child sexual abuse.

We Won’t Let It Happen Here: Creating a Safe Church. Created by the Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network, a network of the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA). Download here

Liturgical Resources

Christ Would Not Cast the Judgment Stone hymn
Christ Would Not Cast the Judgment Stone lyric sheet
FutureChurch — A Liturgy of Lament for the Broken Body of Christ
I Believe YouAward winning documentary produced with Presbyterian Women
Lamentation: a time to weep
Man’s prayer video—Eve Ensler
One in Three Sermon Guide
Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network 2015 Resource pack
Telling the Truth: Preaching and Teaching about sexual violence
Violence wheel for Pastors
Worship Resources for Domestic Violence Awareness Sunday 2008

PC(USA) statements and resources related to abuse and misconduct

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) believes that sexual abuse and misconduct, including sexual harassment, are never permissible or acceptable. The General Assembly and other Presbyterian committees have issued policies and resources to help guide councils and members in their relationships with one another.

Policies Approved by the General Assembly

Standards of Ethical Conduct
(Approved by the 210th General Assembly [1998]). Church leaders across the denomination are asking for help amid the complexities and ambiguities of ministry in the contemporary world. While Scripture, the Book of Confessions, and the Book of Order provide guidance, it is sometimes unclear how to make the connections between their general guidance and the particular ethical dilemmas that confront persons in the conduct of life and ministry. The Standards of Ethical Conduct are intended as a bridge between these guiding resources and the specific issues that persons in ministry face on a day-to-day basis. The Standards provide that members, employees, volunteers, and ordained officers of the PC(USA) will refrain from exploiting relationships for personal gain, including sexual harassment. Download

Sexual Misconduct Policy and Its Procedures
(Adopted by the 219th General Assembly [2010], updated October 2013). It is the policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) … that all church members, church officers, non­-member employees, and volunteers of congregations, governing bodies, and entities of the church are to maintain the integrity of the ministerial, employment, and professional relationship at all times. Persons who engage in sexual misconduct are in violation of the principles set forth in Scripture, and also of the ministerial, pastoral, employment, and professional relationship. It is never permissible or acceptable for a church member, officer, employee, or volunteer to engage in sexual misconduct. Download

Child/Youth/Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy and Its Procedures
(Approved by the 222nd General Assembly [2016]). It is the policy of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and all entities of the General Assembly that all church members, church officers, nonmember employees and/or contractors, and volunteers of congregations, councils and entities of the church are to maintain the strongest sense of integrity, safety, nurturing and care involving all interactions with children, youth and vulnerable adults. This policy applies to all General Assembly entity sponsored activities that involve children, youth, and vulnerable adults. Download

Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy Reports Approved by the General Assembly

Link to all Papers and Resources from the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, which include the following resources:
https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/compassion-peace-justice/acs…

Resolution on Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse Against Educators
(Approved by the 216th General Assembly [2004]). This study examines the balance between allegations of child sexual abuse and due process for the accused. Download

Turn Mourning Into Dancing! A Policy Statement on Healing Domestic Violence and Study Guide
(Approved by the 213th General Assembly [2001]). This policy statement is the result of a development process that included wide consultation and participation throughout the church, drawing upon biblical sources and insights from the Reformed tradition in giving renewed definition to Presbyterian understandings concerning the root causes of domestic violence and the church’s complicity and response to the problem. The term “domestic violence” in this policy statement and its rationale is used as an inclusive term to broadly encompass the abuse found in child/child, parent/child, spouse/spouse, partner/partner, adult child/aging parent relationships, as well as violence that occurs in sibling and dating relationships. Download

Human Trafficking Human Rights: Children of God, Not for Sale
(Approved by the 222nd General Assembly [2016]). A study and recommendations for policies to curtail the on-going tragedy of human trafficking that addresses not only sex trafficking and child trafficking, but labor trafficking and lesser known ways that persons can be bought and sold. Human Trafficking Human Rights: Children of God, Not for Sale (2016)

Human Trafficking Statement of Concern ACSWP and ACWC (2016)
A statement of concern on human trafficking. Human Trafficking Statement of Concern ACSWP and ACWC (2016)

Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military: A Human Rights Update (joint report with the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns)
(Approved by the 221st General Assembly [2014]). A report with recommendations seeking to support efforts to end the continuing problem of sexual assault within the U.S. military. Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military: A Human Rights Update (2014)

Statements Issued by PC(USA) Leadership

2002 Letter from Moderator Rev. Jack Rogers, Stated Clerk Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, and General Assembly Council Executive Director John Detterick “Sexual Abuse in any form is never permissible.” Link

2017 Co-Moderators’ Call for Deeper Cultural Shift on Sexual Harassment and Abuse. Link

2017 Advent Pastoral Statement on Sexual Misconduct. Link

PW-ACWC Joint Statement on Sexual Injustice (2018). Link

Papers of the PCUSA Women’s Ministries Program Area

Hearing the Silence Healing the Pain
Stories of Professional Misconduct Through Sexual Abuse in the Church, Published by Women’s Ministries Program Area (1999 2nd edition). Hearing the Silence Healing the Pain Sexual Abuse in the Church (1993)

Council on Women and the Church and the Committee on Women’s Concerns Reports Approved by the General Assembly

Pornography: Far from the Song of Songs
Responding to overtures from the presbyteries of Elizabeth and Cincinnati, the 196th General Assembly (1984) adopted a resolution on pornography that mandated the Council on Women and the Church (COWAC) and the General Assembly Mission Board (Office of Women) to “persevere in their work in the areas of pornography and obscenity and the education of the church and society to combat the abusive treatment of women.” Download

Violations Against the Image of God Exploitation of Women
(Approved by the 195th General Assembly (1983)). A study of female sexual slavery and prostitution promoted by tourism. Violations Against the Image of God Exploitation of Women 1986

Resources from the Presbyterian Committee on Child Advocacy/Child Advocacy Network

Guidelines for Child Care at Church-sponsored Meetings. Published by the Child Advocacy Network for the PCUSA (1995). PDS 72-650-95-002.

We Won’t Let It Happen Here: Creating a Safe Church. Created by the Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network, a network of the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (2012) (PHEWA). Download here

Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice

An online journal and community that examines, expresses, and provokes social justice as inspired by the prophetic gospel of Jesus Christ. http://justiceunbound.org/
Papers and Resources from Unbound

Resisting Harassment in the Church
http://justiceunbound.org/carousel/resisting-harassment-in-the-church/

Choosing Vulnerability in the Wage of #metoo
http://justiceunbound.org/carousel/choosing-vulnerability-in-the-wake-of-me…

The Persistence of Trauma and the Power of Belief
http://justiceunbound.org/carousel/the-persistence-of-trauma-and-the-power-…

Unbound Web Page “Recommended Resources Related to Sexual Harassment and Abuse”
http://justiceunbound.org/recommended-resources-related-to-sexual-harassmen…

Studies by PC(USA) Research Services of the Presbyterian Mission Agency

The Presbyterian Panel – Gender and Leadership in the PC(USA). 2015 Panel, Volume #4. Published by PC(USA) Research Services. https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/research-services/presbyterian-panel/

Resources for Men

Men in the Mirror – Orienting Our Lives Toward a Christ-Centered Masculinity
https://pma.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/phewa/pdfs/revised_men_in_the_mirror-0914_revision.pdf

David Lewis Bible Study for Men – First Corinthians
https://www.presbyterianmission.org/wp-content/uploads/087018.pdf

David Lewis Bible Study for Men – Song of Solomon
https://www.presbyterianmission.org/wp-content/uploads/087023.pdf


“Is your church safe?” brochure

Is your church safe brochure
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