Saturday, July 31, 2010
Church Saga continued - the backstory
My husband and I had belonged to this Church just a short while when I saw a scary sight from the choir loft where I was singing. Just that week before a client had come into my office and told me that his children had revealed that their mother and her new boyfriend had sexually abused them. I helped the client file for immediate custody and we made a report to Social Services. As I began to sing the choir anthem, my vision focused on a couple I had not seen in church before. It was my client's ex-wife and her boyfriend.
I sat there trying to decide how to react. This woman hated me. I had taken her children and got her fired from her job running a home daycare. I don't know why this couple stayed. But they did. And kept coming back.
I told the pastor and church officials they needed to go down and read a certain court file. I then got permission from my client to tell the church what they needed to know.
The pastor did not take the position that these folks were "innocent until proven guilty." He acted immediately. He and the Deacon Chairperson were wonderful. At one point there was a meeting and the male threatened the Deacon Chair saying "well anyone can make allegations and there might be some about you and your daughter this afternoon. See how you like DSS in your life." The Pastor and Deacon chair didn't act so Sunday-school-like at that moment.
This situation and how it was handled furthered my bond with my church. I was awestruck to see these men take a stand to protect those around them. I began to see the pastor as a fatherly figure. To see a pastor so committed to keeping children safe was reassuring.
Soon thereafter, I was asked to assist in drafting a set of policies which would govern activities with our children. The three-fold purpose was to protect children, volunteers and the staff. A committee and I set to work and I think, we did a great job. We have a comprehensive protections policy.
Fast forward a year or so and my father decided to make a brief reappearance in my life. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. This was pre-therapy and so my husband and I met with the pastor. He was really good. I didn't go into details of my childhood but I know he got the general theme. The pastor gave me the analogy of a healing wound. You need to be really careful before you rip the scab off a wound and expose it to the world again. The pastor told me I was not required to meet my father. I felt validated.
Fast forward to two years ago when my father died. Friends of ours, not knowing the funeral was out-of-state, offered to attend the service with me. Just to support me.
This church has supported my family. When Husband had knee surgery when Munchkin was just 8 months old, the church hired someone to take care of our yard work that summer. With each child we have had meals for weeks. Both of my children have been dedicated there. We went through a building campaign, and after much prayer, we gifted a large sum of money in furtherance of having a true sanctuary. We were a part of the building plans and were there the first Sunday in the beautiful new sanctuary. My Husband and I were both baptized as part of the first baptismal in the new sanctuary.
There are a lot of memories tied up in this church and in the people involved. Church is my family. When I'm happy, I share it with these people. When I'm sad, I call upon these people. When I need something, it is this group I call. My family is in this church every Wednesday and Sunday. Holidays are marked with special services at church. Our friends are from this church. My daughter doesn't know how to celebrate Halloween without the church fall festival, or Easter without the church egg hunt. She looks forward to vacation Bible school and the back-to-school bear hunt every year.
All of that is now changed.