*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Evangelical churches to receive advice about spiritual abuse

21 October 2022

Affinity

A mock-up of the guide, which is due to be published in spring 2023

A mock-up of the guide, which is due to be published in spring 2023

A NEW guide for tackling spiritual abuse in Evangelical churches is be published next spring, as part of “starting a conversation” about the issue.

The guide, titled “Challenging Leaders: Preventing and Investigating Allegations of Pastoral Malpractice” is being produced by Affinity, an organisation that is in touch with more than 1200 Evangelical churches.

An event to launch the project was held in Westminster Palace on Monday, supported by Janet Daby MP, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Safeguarding in Faith Communities.

The director of Affinity, Graham Nicholls, began the event with a statement: “Abuse of power by leaders and of leaders is happening. It’s wrong, and we need to deal with it compassionately and biblically.”

He suggested that it was important to recognise the reality of abuse, and that it is sometimes wrongly dismissed as part of a “secular victim culture”. At the same time, he said that it was important for churches to approach the issue through a biblical lens, “not so much in the secular terms of power imbalance, but in terms of the authority placed on leaders in the Church”.

Mr Nicholls, who is a pastor at Christ Church, Hayward’s Heath, explained that recent cases of malpractice and abuse within evangelical churches were an impetus for the production of the guide.

He cited the case of Emmanuel Proprietary Chapel in Wimbledon. In 2021, an independent safeguarding review found that there was an “unhealthy culture” in the church that allowed allegations of abuse to go unchecked (News, 23 March 2021).

The guide aims to combine pastoral and procedural advice, and will cover how best to respond to those who have been hurt, even when the conduct falls below the criminal and safeguarding levels.

“Conservative Evangelicals are perhaps the worst for pushing the wounded out of the way,” Mr Nicholls said.

The focus now was on starting a conversation, of which the upcoming book would be just one part: “The book will be imperfect, it will be incomplete . . . but it won’t be the end of the conversation.”

To this end, Affinity is releasing resources online before the publication date, and hopes to establish moderated forums for discussing issues surrounding spiritual abuse.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

 

Church Times Month

March 2024

For the whole of March, Church Times is offering completely FREE online access, so you can share stories without a paywall.

We are also asking our readers to spread the news of the Church Times among their friends, acquaintances, and fellow churchgoers (and non-churchgoers).

Find out more

 

Keeping faith in Journalism: a Church Times Webinar

11 March 2024 | 6pm GMT

An expert panel discusses trust between the media and the public

Online Tickets available

 

Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available

 

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

You are able to read this for FREE as part of Church Times Promotional Month, where for the whole of March, we are offering unlimited web access to the newspaper.

From next month to explore the Church Times website fully, you will need to sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers will return to only being able to read four articles for free each month.