Our responsibility when there are accusations of abuse and bullying

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Today I’m attending an online conference organised by Church As Refuge.  The organisers want to encourage pastors and church leaders to think about how we make churches safe and welcoming refuges for victims of abuse. However, the context is also that sadly we have seen too many cases of abuse within the church. We’ve seen… Continue reading Our responsibility when there are accusations of abuse and bullying

Trauma, grief and response to abuse

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Over the past few years, I’ve written and spoken quite a bit about the problem of abusive cultures particularly in the context of church life. First of all, my concern is to see us doing better in letting what we believe affect how we live so that doctrines of grace lead to cultures of grace.… Continue reading Trauma, grief and response to abuse

The (church) body keeps the score

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I recently referred to the book “The body keeps the score” which talks about how mental health issues and in particular trauma related health is not just in the mind. The physical brain, nervous system and the body are affected by trauma, respond to it and keep score of the damage inflicted. So, I’ve begun… Continue reading The (church) body keeps the score

The Guilt Driven Church or the Grace Saturated Church?

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Over the next few days we’ve something a little different on #TheDailyDose . I’m taking a break from working through a book in order to look at a mini topical series.  Over the past few months, we’ve been challenged following the Fletcher, Smyth and Timmis scandals to look at our church culture. What kind of… Continue reading The Guilt Driven Church or the Grace Saturated Church?


One of the really sad things about recent abuse scandals in the church is the way they mirror some of the horrific things we see in the world around us.  We should be able to respond and to offer something that is beautifully counter cultural.  Yet instead, we are seen to ape some of the… Continue reading Scandalised

Responding to the abuse reports -what next?

We’ve been hit hard by a series of reports and investigations into abuse and bullying over the past few month including Acts29 and Steve Timmis, RZIM, John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher.  The response has been intense and emotional.  It’s included a lot of good, helpful and right things Deep probing questioning as people have wanted… Continue reading Responding to the abuse reports -what next?

The Love Factor

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Back last week when picking up on the Jonathan Fletcher report, I noted that one of the central issues raised was a sense of fear among those who had been most affected by the abuse which affected their ability to come forward. I concluded my article on “fear” with these words If perfect love drives… Continue reading The Love Factor

The fear factor

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One of the issues that emerged from the Jonathan Fletcher review was the prevalence of fear amongst those affected by the case.  The review comments: A further factor which is of great importance is fear. As has been explained, the level of fear some participants held was palpable in interviews and email correspondence. Repeated reassurances… Continue reading The fear factor

Little leopards …

The reports have come out on the Jonathan Fletcher case and they make for sober reading. Fletcher was the pastor of a church in London and over the past few yers, in an alarming similarity to the accusations against John Smyth, it emerged that he had introduced an abusive regime of punishment beatings with vulnerable… Continue reading Little leopards …