To my former Church, to my former pastor

Dear Former Pastors of my Church,

I never thought I would write this letter to you.

But here I am, writing this with a loudly beating heart and tears in my eyes.

Dear Pastors: This isn’t going to be a ‘Thank You’ or a ‘Blessings upon you’ letter. This letter will probably be an angry one; at least it will be full of pain. Pain that you have caused, pain I have finally decided to call you out for.

You know me as well as I know you. I was born into the Church, I was raised in it. I went to Sunday children groups since I was a toddler. You know my mother and you know my father. My mother even worked for you as a secretary for a while. You know about my parents’ separation and apparently you tried to stop it, but that isn’t the issue. This isn’t why I am writing this letter with shaking hands.

Between the ages of 9 to almost 12, I was sexually abused by my father. I repressed the horrible experience for 3 good years, but when I was 15 and had my first boyfriend it all came up again. After the former youth pastor and by then pastor of a different church found out what was going on, he contacted Social Services for me and I was put into care. Eventually my mother found out. She decided to disclose what was going on the former pastor.

I don’t know how the conversation between the two went and what was said. But I do know one thing. Instead of protecting me, instead of doing the right and decent thing, Jens decided to do nothing. Instead of excluding my father from the church, instead of to at least try to prevent him from going to the same church as me, he did nothing. Instead sat tight.

And of course my father used our Sunday Service as part of his plan to reach out to me. To brainwash me, so I wouldn’t press charges against him. He even used the church to force me into forgiving him publicly and privately. But did the pastor do anything, anything at all to stop this? No, nothing happened.

Instead you let a man, who you knew was a child molester go to your church every Sunday, be around me and around other children every Sunday. You let a man, who you knew was manipulative, abusive and dangerous carry on his abuse and his manipulation. You, Jens, you and your family did nothing. Nothing to protect me, my siblings or anyone in the entire Ichthys church.

But you know what instead did, or better what you let others do to me? You let other church members, like our Youth Pastor and his team accuse me of not being a real Christian; for questioning the historical accuracy of the Bible. Apparently it is greater sin to question the literacy of the Bible in the church than to sexually abuse a helpless child. Apparently it was also a greater sin of me to have sex before getting married, or for me to smoke. For which I was heavily criticised and ostracised.

Don’t you think that this is hypocrisy? How is any of this biblical or even Christian? How dare you turn your back on me, the moment I might not agree on some of your teachings, but think it is okay to not protect me and let a child molester go to your church?

How dare you? You are not worthy of calling yourself Christians, you are not worthy of calling yourself a church. You have failed to protect me, you have failed to protect the church. You have driven me away from your church, because I didn’t fit your image of a Christian any longer, but maybe you are not fitting that image. Maybe you are the ones who have lost their ways. Maybe you are the ones who have lost their way in Christ. I am 26 now and I am still suffering, still recovering from the abuse, the manipulation I endured. And a part of me thinks, that this wouldn’t be the case if someone would have done something or at least tried.

A very angry former church member

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5 thoughts on “To my former Church, to my former pastor

  1. You’re entirely justified in feeling as you do.That church wronged you in more ways than one. There’s this Safe Place program that gives young people a place to run to – most churches might say that they’re with the program but so very few actually act like it. Church teaching has places so much emphasis on family, that they fail to protect people who have families that don’t protect them. One church I admire doesn’t sweep sexual predators under the rug – they make sure everybody knows who they are and they forbid them from being left alone in the presence of children. I wish more churches had that same policy, because by sweeping them under the rug, so many churches enable them to keep on preying on their victims over and over again and also gives them access to new victims. I’m so very sorry that you went through all of that and I’m so very sorry that nobody came to your defense; that church wronged you in more ways than one.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. The problem is that the church I am talking about is in Germany and a charismatic church. As far as I am aware the Safe Space programme only runs in the states and I am currently situated in the UK. Please correct me if I am wrong.

      1. You’re right about the Safe Space program being in the states – but in such cases where there aren’t secular programs to help deal with these things, then it’s all the more crucial that churches step up and have a plan in place. If churches aren’t taking it seriously and there’s no secular programs – then there aren’t any resources in place, anywhere to go, and anybody who’s trained to counsel to help anyone who is at risk. That’s just not right.

      2. I couldn’t have said it better. There are programs in place in Germany for the Protestant and Catholic churches, but not for the ever growing evangelical churches. Unfortunately the governing bodies of the evangelical churches in Germany are not very transparent and the networking between them is a pure nightmare. As a normal average church goer and church member of an evangelical church in Germany, you really have to rely a lot on your pastor and that they are doing the right thing. Many of the elders and chairs of committees in the head organisation, of the domain your church belongs to, know each other well and also know a lot of the pastors very well. This was the case with me, which meant that there was no support at all.

      3. I know our evangelical churches have been rocked by scandals lately partially because of the leadership structure – the pastors, elders, and deacons all protect each other, say yes to each other, and everybody else isn’t on the same level so they don’t get same protection. It must be in the DNA of the evangelical church.

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