A Message from Ellen 10-12-22
October 12, 2022
As the Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist Churches are being roiled by sexual abuse scandals, our hearts ought to be broken. Our response to these allegations of sexual abuse and cover ups by those who stand in the name of Christ is to be one of grief, repentance, and resolve.
We grieve for those who, having been abused often by someone in power who used Jesus’ name, have lost the ability to trust in God as a loving parent or refuge in time of trouble. The Church, which should have been a safe place, is now a place that reminds them of abuse, harm, betrayal, and grief. We grieve for those in power who got so far away from the humility and accountability of a living relationship with God that they rationalized their ability to “use” another human being for their own selfish and sinful purposes. And we grieve for the guilt and shame often felt by parents who entrusted their loved ones to leaders in a place where there should have been safety and security.
We repent, not because we perpetrated these crimes ourselves, but because we are all part of the Body of Christ. When one part of Christ’s Body suffers or is broken, we all hurt. Like Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13, we recognize that all of us are a mix of good and bad. In our lives and in our hearts, the “wheat” and the “weeds” grow so closely together that we cannot pull up the evil without also uprooting the good. We repent because we know how easy it is to sin.
And we resolve. We resolve to do what we can do to prevent any person (adult or child) from ever being abused when they participate in the life and mission of Forest Lake Presbyterian Church. We resolve to abide by the FLPC Child Protection Policy and the standards of behavior that are designed to try to block any one person from having unsupervised access to any child. We resolve to ask all of our elders, deacons, staff, teachers, youth advisors, and anyone who has regular access to children under eighteen to fill out a volunteer application, submit to a national criminal background check, and by checking references. Your staff has been trained in mandatory reporting laws. Every new member is given a volunteer application and the required standards of behavior. None of this happens without our volunteers making a big commitment of time. It is inconvenient, but it is non-negotiable. Let’s resolve never to allow a child (or vulnerable adult) to be abused in this portion of the Body of Christ.
If you want to know more, pick up a Child Protection Policy brochure in the downstairs Church Lobby. And if you ever see something that gives you pause, or makes you wonder, speak up! Protecting our children, youth, and vulnerable adults is what is required of every part of the Body of Christ. Please join me in praying for those affected by abuse, and in praying that we will be vigilant, humble, and resolved in our own church life together.
Thank you for your prayers!
Ellen F. Skidmore