A number of recent events have come together to remind me of the ongoing need for opportunities for those who have suffered abuse and those who support them to reflect and pray.
I had the solemn privilege of leading such a strong pastoral service – a service which was suggested by a survivor of abuse. The service was held in Lent 2004 at St David’s Cathedral, Hobart, and in the north and north-west of Tasmania, and it commenced with the welcome:
Some are here because you personally have experienced the destructive effects of sexual abuse either in the church,… in your home,… or in your community.
Some are here because you wish to support survivors of abuse and pray for them.
Some are here to repent before God this great evil that was done in our church – and it was a great evil – I wish to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to any who were abused in any way by Anglican Church workers. I am very, very sorry. It should never have happened.
So for all these reasons, let us come to God together and I include myself in this time of prayer and reflection.
See the, Order of Service booklet for ‘Out of the Depths: A time of prayer and reflection with Bishop John Harrower for all those who have suffered from abuse’, Out of the Depths with Welcome and I acknowledge my debt to Beryl Carmichael in the adaptation and formulation of this significant gathering. [pdf with white background! – Out of the Depths – Service and Welcome on A4]
See also, Prayers for survivors of abuse and perpetrators of abuse, here.