To Heal and Not to Hurt

To Heal and Not to Hurt

Authors Rosie Harper & Alan Wilson
Publisher DLT £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780232533941

Subtitled, ‘A fresh approach to safeguarding in Church’, this is a timely analysis which the Bishop of Buckingham and his chaplain intend as ‘an attempt to understand why good church people end up doing bad things.’ They recognise that all abuse emanates from controlling behaviour and the misuse of power. 15 short stories – fictional, but drawing on real situations – show that the Church’s response (or lack of it) may be as hurtful as the original events. ‘Abused in the place they loved by the people they trusted’ means the Church has responsibilities that should not be evaded. Other chapters refer to various aspects of the stories to draw out more general principles, with a strong case made for a mandatory reporting regime so that the abused do not have to face the agony of whether to report or not, coupled with independent inquiry procedures that are truly independent. While recognising that progress has been made in recent years, the authors identify four areas in need of radical reform: Accompaniment; Restoration and Redress; Whistle blowing and Clergy Discipline. This stimulating book shines useful lights in dark places and will enable readers to be alert to situations that could be, or could become, abusive.

JOHN KNOWLES

Pastoral, Safeguarding

 

Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse

Escaping the Maze
of Spiritual Abuse

Authors Lisa Oakley & Justin Humphreys
Publisher SPCK £10.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780281081318

Spiritual abuse, whilst not always being named as such, has been around in the church for generations. As the authors say, it can be bottom up, side-by-side or top down, and it is essential that it is recognised and named for what it is. In this compelling and accessible book the authors do exactly that. Without any hint of sensationalism and with real life, fully- anonymised examples the authors address key questions of the what, how and why of spiritual abuse. However, this is more than a retrospective overview; significant chapters explore the way forward in terms of the creation of safer cultures, and responding well to disclosures – again in a practical and easily accessible way. Research based, thorough and refreshingly light on jargon, I found this an easy read – not in terms of its subject matter – but because it broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding of this important aspect of the church’s ministry.

CHRIS BRACEGIRDLE

Ministry, Safeguarding

 

Walking with Domestic Abuse Sufferers

Walking with Domestic Abuse Sufferers

Author Helen Thorne
Publisher IVP £7.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781783595952  2018

The statistics are shocking: the police are called to an incident of domestic abuse every thirty seconds, though it is estimated only 35% of cases come to their attention. Domestic abuse is officially defined as controlling, coercive, threatening or violent behaviour and may be psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional. Christian relationships are not immune. Thorne’s book, one of a series from Bible Counselling UK, uses case studies to explore various kinds of abuse and considers the distorted images of God and themselves which abuse sufferers have. Strategies for raising awareness of abuse within church communities and for supporting sufferers when disclosure occurs are explored and linked to scripture. There are four useful appendices to assist churches with their safeguarding responsibilities. This is an invaluable book for Readers involved in pastoral work; indeed, every church should have a copy.

GLORIA CADMAN

Pastoral, Safeguarding