Apology from churches
This apology was delivered at a combined church service held by four churches in the City of Casey, Victoria, Australia, 2008. It occurred as part of a project called “Promoting Peace in Families” run jointly by local churches in the City of Casey, the Casey City Council, and the Casey-Cardinia Community Health Centre.
The project involved training of church leaders and a 28 day focus on awareness and capacity building in the congregation so they can better respond to domestic abuse. The project is continuing into its second stage where it will involve 12 churches.
We have listened to and heard those who have been abused in family violence by members of their own households and we believe that it is the responsibility of the Church to respond to all victims of abuse with compassion and unconditional support.
We acknowledge that the experience of many women in the past is that they have not always been responded to with such compassion and support. Instead they have felt invalidated, disbelieved, pressured and unsupported.
We confess that this is not the spirit of Christ, and we express our deep sorrow that many women and children and some men and teenagers, who have desperately needed the understanding, love and protection of the Church, have instead felt rejected, neglected, disenfranchised and devalued.
We cannot promise that we will always get it right in the future, but today we commit ourselves to seeking to be well informed about and pro-active towards family violence; equipping ourselves so we can provide support, care and counseling; willing to access appropriate resources in the community, and to be continually engaged in building sensitive, safe, just and loving communities of faith.
We humbly look forward together to the time when all those who are wounded by family violence and who come to the Church for healing will find Christ as their healer and the Church as their safe, accepting and loving family.