Tag Archives: abuse

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

Cecelias Herz

About a year ago I had the great opportunity to direct my own short piece, within my college course. This directed piece was part of my curriculum but I nonetheless had incredible freedom. in my creative choices.

In just six weeks time it was my task to rehearse and devise a piece, that could be either be based on a script or any form of theatre.  The only rules I had to obey, was that it shouldn’t be longer than 15 minutes and that it shouldn’t be too inappropriate. But other than that we had a free hand and a free choice.

I decided to write my own script and to use it for my devising work. For a while I’ve been playing with the idea to write a script that deals with mental illness and its current status in society. I was particular drawn to Sigmund Freud’s theories on psychology and mental illness and how his personal life influenced his work.

I decided to write a script for classical theatre. But after being on the course I changed my mind and incorporated aspects of surreal theatre, Artaudian theatre and dance theatre. I changed my script but stayed true to the core ideas of my play. I wanted to show how people with mental illness are wrongfully judged by society and I think in the end I succeeded.

In just 6 weeks I managed to create my piece and I’m so proud of the people who worked with me and that realised the whole thing with me. I still can’t believe that I was allowed so much freedom, that I could actually use a pig’s heart (in jar I have to say) and strip my actresses down to their underwear.

The video shows the performance but unfortunately didn’t succeed in catching everything. There was a lot of audience interaction going on that couldn’t have been filmed. But the video is still a good fragment, a good record of my piece. A piece that I would like to stage again one day.

In honour of Cecelias Herz.