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THE WE TOO MANIFESTO

We understand that all human beings are made in the image of their Creator and, therefore, are worthy of protection and dignity. Because we understand the nefarious nature of predatory behavior, we value the voices of survivors over the bullying narrative of the abusers. Jesus sought the broken, the outcast, the sick, and the unnoticed, and we, as a church, continue that agape-fueled mission. We are willing to chase the one.

We understand that sexual abuse is the work of the evil one who came to steal, kill, and destroy humanity. We know that sexual abuse often causes lifelong traumatic results, healed in a multitude of ways, including therapy, prayer, compassionate listening, and simply walking alongside the hurting. In helping those who ache in the aftermath of abuse, we are determined to deal a debilitating blow to evil’s proliferation.

We understand that sexual predation is not only an egregious sin, but it is also a crime. According to Romans 13, we honor the governing authorities in our nation, entrusting perpetrators to the judicial process. Instead of shrinking away in fear and covering up abuse when it’s brought to light, we commit to alerting the appropriate institutions—law enforcement, mental health care, emergency services.

We know that the cry of the survivor is the church crying out. He or she is us—and the level at which we deal redemptively and empathetically to the sexual abuse crisis corresponds directly to our ability to truly represent Jesus Christ on this earth. We commit to allowing space for survivors to tell their stories in our churches. We welcome this because healing comes through sharing.

The church is not a place of perfection. It is and should be a haven of protection.

We are committed to protecting those children in our midst, and we value this far more than the church’s reputation. Given the choice between protecting reputation and protecting children, we will always choose the latter. We will create policies and procedures in our churches, missions, and ministries that empower and protect those we serve. We will declare that secrecy may have been the way past generations have dealt with abuse, but that is not how we will address it today. We prefer light to darkness.

As believers in the good news of Jesus Christ, we declare that no one is beyond his reach—even the perpetrator. But we will err on the side of protection of the vulnerable in evaluating who can serve in our churches, missions, and ministries.

We affirm this story: the blame rests on the shoulders of the one who violated, not the one who was violated. We will not participate in public or private victim-shaming, nor will we glory in the downfall of the perpetrator. Instead, we purpose to pray for all involved as the legal and therapeutic processes ensue. We also understand that God is glorified when justice prevails.

We understand the church is in crisis. People have abandoned church because we have not shepherded them. They leave because their brokenness is treated with contempt, inconvenience, or dismissal. They leave because they feel utterly alone in their stories because so few abuse stories are even hinted at on Sunday mornings. While we long to see the church grow deeper through discipleship and wider through evangelism, instead we are experiencing a shameful exodus of the very people who would offer the world the kind of authentic, raw hope the next generation craves and needs. We are losing our clarion voice because of our nearsighted fear of how messy we perceive the abused can be. And yet, they are the ones Jesus pursued when he walked this earth and are the very people who can teach us to love the world Jesus died for. The sexually abused are our tutors, but we’ve expelled them. Now, we choose to welcome them.

We are collectively broken by the sheer volume of protectionism that has harmed victims over the years, decades and millennia. So many silenced. So many secrets. So many people seemingly getting away with harming the vulnerable. We repent of our penchant for institutional protectionism. Instead of indifference, we choose active compassion. Instead of deafness, we choose to dignify people by listening to their stories. Instead of shrinking back in fear of the messiness of sexual assault, we choose to face the Goliaths of those churches and institutions that would rather dabble in reputation management than participate in righteous repentance. We grieve over all who have been harmed, silenced, shamed, and blamed. In repentance, we stand up for those who are silenced, unheard, maligned, mocked, and shut down with a holy tenacity to do what is right.

We Too Manifesto

We understand that all human beings are made in the image of their Creator and, therefore, are worthy of protection and dignity. Because we understand the nefarious nature of predatory behavior, we value the voices of survivors over the bullying narrative of the abusers. Jesus sought the broken, the outcast, the sick, and the unnoticed, and we, as a church, continue that agape-fueled mission. We are willing to chase the one.

We understand that sexual abuse is the work of the evil one who came to steal, kill, and destroy humanity. We know that sexual abuse often causes lifelong traumatic results, healed in a multitude of ways, including therapy, prayer, compassionate listening, and simply walking alongside the hurting. In helping those who ache in the aftermath of abuse, we are determined to deal a debilitating blow to evil’s proliferation.

We understand that sexual predation is not only an egregious sin, but it is also a crime. According to Romans 13, we honor the governing authorities in our nation, entrusting perpetrators to the judicial process. Instead of shrinking away in fear and covering up abuse when it’s brought to light, we commit to alerting the appropriate institutions—law enforcement, mental health care, emergency services.

We know that the cry of the survivor is the church crying out. He or she is us—and the level at which we deal redemptively and empathetically to the sexual abuse crisis corresponds directly to our ability to truly represent Jesus Christ on this earth. We commit to allowing space for survivors to tell their stories in our churches. We welcome this because healing comes through sharing.

The church is not a place of perfection. It is and should be a haven of protection.

We are committed to protecting those children in our midst, and we value this far more than the church’s reputation. Given the choice between protecting reputation and protecting children, we will always choose the latter. We will create policies and procedures in our churches, missions, and ministries that empower and protect those we serve. We will declare that secrecy may have been the way past generations have dealt with abuse, but that is not how we will address it today. We prefer light to darkness.

As believers in the good news of Jesus Christ, we declare that no one is beyond his reach—even the perpetrator. But we will err on the side of protection of the vulnerable in evaluating who can serve in our churches, missions, and ministries.

We affirm this story: the blame rests on the shoulders of the one who violated, not the one who was violated. We will not participate in public or private victim-shaming, nor will we glory in the downfall of the perpetrator. Instead, we purpose to pray for all involved as the legal and therapeutic processes ensue. We also understand that God is glorified when justice prevails.

We understand the church is in crisis. People have abandoned church because we have not shepherded them. They leave because their brokenness is treated with contempt, inconvenience, or dismissal. They leave because they feel utterly alone in their stories because so few abuse stories are even hinted at on Sunday mornings. While we long to see the church grow deeper through discipleship and wider through evangelism, instead we are experiencing a shameful exodus of the very people who would offer the world the kind of authentic, raw hope the next generation craves and needs. We are losing our clarion voice because of our nearsighted fear of how messy we perceive the abused can be. And yet, they are the ones Jesus pursued when he walked this earth and are the very people who can teach us to love the world Jesus died for. The sexually abused are our tutors, but we’ve expelled them. Now, we choose to welcome them.

We are collectively broken by the sheer volume of protectionism that has harmed victims over the years, decades and millennia. So many silenced. So many secrets. So many people seemingly getting away with harming the vulnerable. We repent of our penchant for institutional protectionism. Instead of indifference, we choose active compassion. Instead of deafness, we choose to dignify people by listening to their stories. Instead of shrinking back in fear of the messiness of sexual assault, we choose to face the Goliaths of those churches and institutions that would rather dabble in reputation management than participate in righteous repentance. We grieve over all who have been harmed, silenced, shamed, and blamed. In repentance, we stand up for those who are silenced, unheard, maligned, mocked, and shut down with a holy tenacity to do what is right.

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