“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” [2 Timothy 1:7]
Friends, here is what we have been doing in our healing journey. We have opened space for the truth of what has happened at St. George’s to begin coming to light: the truth that at least one priest of this parish has used his power in emotionally and spiritually abusive ways. We have acknowledged the deep effects that this abuse has caused to individuals at St. George’s and to St. George’s as a community. We’ve seen and acknowledged how this abuse had altered the way we think of ourselves and our parish, creating a lasting and damaging self-portrait. Now we are ready to say, “we will no longer think that way about ourselves. We will be a people of power and love and self-control.”
In this third and final Healing Past Hurts event this coming Saturday, we will, together, undo the power of these negative stories; we will covenant with one another about the new stories that will characterize St. George’s for our future. We are called to be a resurrection people: and so we will discern, together, what resurrection looks like for our community. We might say, “we will no longer believe that we are unworthy of love and care; we turn away from that belief. Instead, we will believe and proclaim: all are beloved by God; all are worthy of care and compassion. And this is how we will live that out, in real time, in our parish....” And then we will covenant with one another to live that out in specific, concrete ways.
I ask you now, every parishioner at St. George’s, to pray for this work that we do this weekend. Pray that God be powerfully present with us. Pray that we see very clearly what stories need to be un-told, and we discern very concretely how to live as healing and healed people of God. Please pray for our counsellor and faciliator, Brian Way, that God would bring him an abundance of wisdom and clarity as he supports us.
And pray for the future of St. George’s: pray for us to become people empowered, and loving, and exercising self-control, to become the people God would love for us to be. God believes that we can; God is standing at our side as we heal and grow. Pray for God to open the way in our midst, and lead us into the future God is unfolding before us.
May it be. Amen.