Safe Church

Guarding Those Serving and Being Served


The goal of Central Hope’s Safe Church initiative is to build a community where the value of each person is honored; where people are free to worship and grow free from abuse; and where when abuse has occurred, the response is compassion and justice that fosters healing.



Most of us, when we think of abuse prevention and awareness, think of windows in doors and abuse prevention policies. While these are certainly helpful, Central Hope envisions a more holistic approach to nurturing a safe and healthy church community where abuse itself becomes unthinkable and where survivors feel supported and safe.

Policies are helpful and necessary tools (you can read ours here), however they are just one tool. The greatest resource to our congregation is all of us united to end abuse and care deeply about the well-being and wholeness of persons who are most vulnerable.

  1. From one or two people holding up the cause of abuse prevention to all of us upholding “safe church” as a core part of the good news of Jesus.

  2. From a regular required training in policy to regularly preaching and praying against abuse in worship services, creating spaces for survivors to share their stories, equipping our children with knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe, and nurturing a greater attentiveness and commitment within our communities to abuse prevention and response.

  3. From being primarily concerned about legal requirements to attending to the dynamics of power and control within the church community.

  4. From rushing toward the pursuit of forgiveness and reconciliation to listening, caring, believing, recognizing the harm, as well as participating in processes that lead to the person who caused the harm to acknowledge and take responsibility where harm has occurred.

  5. From conflicts dividing us through ongoing arguments or disengagement to seeking to be a restorative congregation where the truth of what happened may be spoken, those who have caused harm take responsibility, and restoration is a goal for our life together as a church and as a society.



We grieve with you over what you experienced.  What that abuser did was wrong.  God hates it, and so do we.  (Psalm 64, Jeremiah 17:9-10, Malachi 2:13-16)

It is not your fault. Nobody deserves to be abused.  Please do not feel ashamed for what someone else chose to do to you.

Abusers inflict physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or financial wounds that can last a very long time.  Those wounds may make it hard to believe the love of God found in Jesus Christ.  Please know that God’s love is real and His victory is certain (John 16:33), even if you cannot sense that right now.

We hope that the people and leadership of Central Hope provide a safe and healthy place where you can heal.  We know this will take a while.  We hope consistently to demonstrate God’s love and truth – in action and in word – so that you will find strength in Him.  By God’s grace, we hope that you will come to know that the evil done to you is not the end of your story.

Central Hope seeks to ensure that any victim of abuse receives immediate, appropriate, and confidential pastoral care, financial assistance as able, as well as referrals to professional counseling services. Central HOpe also realizes that secondary victims, such as friends and relatives, may also need support and/or pastoral care.

However works best for you, please let us know your story.  We want to help.  You have several ways to get in touch with church leadership.  Please contact us  to learn about those.  We hope you will use whichever route makes you most comfortable.  Include a friend or family member, if you wish.



Many of us will be spared the trauma of abuse.  Let us thank God for that mercy.  At the same time, let’s not allow our good fortune to lead to complacency.  Sadly, far too many of our sisters and brothers have been or will be victimized.  Let us do what we can to be knowledgeable, wise, discerning, compassionate toward the wounded, and firm against abuse.

If you want to learn more, please access the materials on this website and the publications listed on the topic of abuse. The Committee Report on Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault is a fantastic starting place.   Please also feel free to talk with one of the elders or deacons.  Avail yourself of the training required of volunteers in our Safe Church policy.



Central Hope Church will do what is necessary to keep its people safe.  We will not tolerate the deceit, manipulation, and control that fuel abuse.  Your victim(s) is/are cherished by God and us, and you will not continue your evil ways while enjoying the fellowship of Central Hope Church.

To protect God’s sheep and accomplish justice, child abuse and abuse of at-risk adults will be reported to the appropriate authorities.  Central Hope will – if the victim agrees – use law enforcement to protect an adult abuse victim and prosecute the offender.  Central Hope will also use church discipline to accomplish the safety and spiritual wellbeing of God’s flock.  This is not a church that will attempt to investigate allegations “in house,” or accept shallow, simplistic apologies for abuse.  The corruption of heart and the layers of deceit that lead to abuse cannot be addressed with a quick “sorry.”

At the same time, nobody is hopeless.  Deliverance through Jesus Christ is possible for even the worst of sinners.  If you truly wish to walk in the light, voluntarily admit to your abuse(s), identify the roots of your choices, and engage in the long, hard work of genuine repentance, we want to help you.  Central Hope’s Session will insist on accountability involving a professional’s assistance.  While restoration might someday be possible depending on the circumstances, it will not be hasty or achieved at the expense of others’ safety.  If you want to begin the journey toward the light, contact one of the church pastors or elders.


Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and ever since Jesus’ time on earth, leaders have been appointed and ordained to help carry out his work of caring for God’s sheep.  Jesus showed his apostles that denial of self and service were to be hallmarks of Christian leadership.  Christian leaders are appointed to serve, not to be served.

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus laid down his life for his sheep.  (John 10:11)  Unfortunately, some Christian leaders have done the exact opposite.  They have used the trust placed in them to prey upon those whom they should be loving, serving, and protecting.  Such abuse can be sexual, physical, spiritual, emotional, or otherwise.  These abusive leaders cross God-given boundaries, sometimes even having sexual contact with someone in their care (which is abuse, not an affair).

Abusive behavior by church leaders reveals a profound misuse of the power and sacred trust that accompany their position.  God hates that.  (See Ezekiel 34.)

If you ever suspect that one of our church leaders has abused someone, please – for the sake of Jesus Christ and his church – report it here.

In addition to reporting crimes to law enforcement and seeking the aid of community resources on abuse, you also can report suspected abuse by an elder or pastor at Central Hope to:

and suspected abuse by a deacon or non-ordained leader at Central Hope to:

For more information, see our Safe Church policy.