Sophie's Table @ Eden Seminary

St. Louis, Missouri
Friday, October 20, 2017

COST: $225 for non-students
$100 for students

Includes meals and extra sessions of training

WomanPreach!, Inc.
, the premiere non-profit organization that brings preachers into full prophetic voice around issues of equity and justice, both in the pulpit and in the public arena, and Children of Combahee, a newly founded project, funded by the Just Beginnings Collaborative, that mobilizes against child sexual abuse in Black church communities using womanist pastoral and theological methods, are joined together in partnership with Eden Theological Seminary and other fiscal sponsors to host, “For the Sake of Our Children: Confronting Sexual Violence in Church Spaces,” a workshop for resourcing and sermon writing.

The event is shaped in the spirit of WomanPreach!’s “Sophie’s Table: Conversation Among Siblings,” in order to create space for Black clergy across genders, lived experiences, and church denominations to address the issue of child sexual abuse.

Without question, child sexual abuse is an epidemic across the nation, and it is exacerbated by white supremacy and structural inequality. According to an ongoing survey conducted by Black Women’s Blueprint, 60% of Black women and girls report having been raped before the age of 18, and national statistics suggest that 1 in 6 boys are victims of sexual violence.

Not only do Black children face state-sanctioned violence, disproportionate and racist policing, inadequate school systems, and lack of educational and financial resources, but these everyday realities are worsened by sexual abuse in their homes, schools, and churches.

Most adult survivors of sexual violence in Black communities attest to having been sexually violated as children, though many survivors never report their assaults to local authorities or share their stories with family members and loved ones because of fear and shame.

Many more survivors acknowledge being sexually violated by religious leaders as children, and if we believe black churches to be central sites of influence in black communities, we must reckon with the reality that survivors of child sexual abuse sit in pews and preach in pulpits.

As such, WomanPreach! and Children of Combahee are curating this gathering to begin the work necessary for transformation, justice, and healing for survivors, and accountability for harm doers.

Our time together will consist of in-depth training about the movement to end child sexual abuse nationally; presentation of background information on what child sexual abuse is, what it looks like, and how our churches have enshrined safe space for its perpetuation and persistence; the cultivation of tools for transforming rape and child abuse cultures in religious spaces, including but not limited to church covenants, protocol, and child safety measures; and resourcing and workshops for writing and preaching theologically sound and theologically responsible sermons addressing and prophetically naming the evil of child sexual abuse from the pulpit. 

 

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