Samaritan SafeChurch – The Fierce Urgency of NOW

February 28th, 2015 by admin

The “Fierce Urgency of NOW” – Why Faith Communities Must Step Up to End Child Sexual Abuse

Blog Post #2:  February 20, 2015

lindacby Linda Crockett, Director of Education & Consultation

Nineteen religious leaders gathered in Atlanta last week for a three day intensive training to learn how to facilitate Samaritan SafeChurch. An ecumenically rich and diverse group of people, many came expecting to learn new skills, but were not fully prepared for the spirit-filled transformative community that developed during our three days together, immersed in the emotionally challenging issue of child sexual abuse. As we shared common ground with each other, stories emerged about our friends, loved ones, or even ourselves, and the long term, sometimes devastating, impact of CSA on adult life.

Using the narrative leadership framework developed by Marshall Gantz (Kennedy School, Harvard) we moved from a story of “self” on day one (Why me? What is my story? Who or what is calling me to do this work on ending CSA?) to a story of “us” on day two (Who are my people? Who am I called to do this work with? Why these congregations, why these people?) and straight on into the prophetic with the story of “now” on day three (Why is it urgent we act NOW to end CSA – not only in our churches, but in our communities?)

As I shared the words uttered by Dr. Martin Luther King about the “fierce urgency of NOW” at Manhattan Riverside Church in April 1967 in his address Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.. that “in this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late”…we all understood that for the child about to be molested tonight, tomorrow IS too late. We acknowledged that people of faith are being called to break the silence NOW, in what we believe to be a Kairos moment in history, and become leaders in the emerging social movement to END child sexual abuse. Several participants were from the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the power of Dr. King’s words as we applied them to urgency of protecting our children from the sexual violence which impacts one in four girls and one in six boys seemed magnified.

Like Dr. King, we are required to take on what is often a lonely prophetic role as we call our people to repent of their silence and inaction as time after time, the church is in the news about our failure to protect children from sexual harm. And we understand that a prophetic role also requires that we challenge our people to change – to become educated and equipped to prevent sexual harm to our children in the communities in which we live, as well as in our congregations. And that finally, we must bear witness to a prophetic vision that gives people hope that with God’s help we can indeed move toward that “promised land” of non-violence articulated by the Prophet Isaiah and on which Samaritan SafeChurch was founded:
No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin and destruction within your gates. You will call your walls Salvation, and your gates, Praise. Isaiah 60:18

The time to act is now. Join us.

One Response to “Samaritan SafeChurch – The Fierce Urgency of NOW”

  1. June 01, 2015 at 7:46 pm, Leanne Rubenstein said:

    Thank you Linda! This is such important work and Care and Counseling Center of Georgia is glad to be a hub in the South with our wonderful, dedicated faith community partners.

    Reply

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