Small Step for Preventing Abuse

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Synod 2008 encouraged Christian Reformed churches to hold at least one hour of abuse-prevention training each year.

“It’s a small step in the right direction,” said Rev. Ed Visser, Classis Quinte.

Female adviser Kathy Vandergrift urged synod to do more. “I think it’s time to raise some kind of accountability that churches actually do take these steps, because otherwise they become empty promises,” she said.

Synod was presented with a lengthy report from the Abuse Victim Task Force that was established in 2006. Although it noted that the report was excellent and in-depth, synod decided that it had not been available long enough for church councils, safe church teams, and others to adequately study it.

After further refinement and clarification, it will be presented to Synod 2010.

Of the 1,057 Christian Reformed churches in North America, 552 have adopted a child-safety policy, according to Beth Swagman, director of Abuse Prevention for the denomination.

About the Authors

Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who lives in the woods with her artist husband James and their five children in Hillsborough, North Carolina. They are members of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham.

Chris Meehan is news and media relations manager for CRC Communications, and a member of Coit Community Church.