The Foundations of Sexual Harassment and Abuse in the Church
Tallinn, Estonia
Thursday September 6, 2018

#turvallinenseurakunta #safechurch

The goal of this seminar is to introduce a sound framework for structured conversation and response to sexual harassment and abuse in the church. The seminar speakers are seasoned psychologists, academics, ministers and church leaders. The informative, engaging lectures are intended for interdenominational ministry preparation as well as in-service training for elders, trustees, lay leaders, and other paid or unpaid staff individuals in Christian service.

In this seminar participants will learn what is meant by sexual abuse and why it matters. The attendees will hear how victims of abuse are traumatized and often carry their secret for a lifetime. Christian contexts may burden victims with the additional misinterpreted or misplaced sense of guilt, making the young and the vulnerable perceive the fault or sin as their own. It will be demonstrated that sexual misconduct can hide undetected and go unaddressed behind the pulpit and in the pews for decades due to layers of systemic, even if unintended, dysfunction.

The seminar organizers’ aim is to initiate and facilitate factual, research-based, practice-oriented, and above all, constructive conversation about sexual abuse in the Christian community. The seminar theme #safechurch, #turvallinenseurakunta, implies that sexual harassment and/or abuse is a true but preventable phenomenon. Besides establishing organizational, systemic, and appropriate sexual health and behavior guidelines for the future, psychological and spiritual healing of former and current victims is of paramount importance to the presenters and organizers.

We invite all interested persons to attend who are involved in some aspect of Christian ministry either as trained professionals or trusted volunteers. The seminar is most appropriate also for seminary students, elders, counselors, and board members of Christian organizations.

#turvallinenseurakunta symposium agenda
Agenda: Thursday Sept. 6, 2018

9:00-9:30​ Welcome, greetings, and introduction Pia Ruotsala, Marjo Mitsutomi
9:30-10:00 In God we trust; all others bring data Jerry Platt
10:00-10:30 What’s wrong with me? Marjo Mitsutomi
10:30-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-11:30 ​Sexual abuse trauma and the impact of shame Tracy Covington
11:30-12:00 The creation of trauma in mind-brain-body connections Kurt Bickford
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:30 ​From Darkness: A Documentary Open Discussion
2:30-3:00 ​Story of #metoo in the #churchtoo Marjo Mitsutomi
3:00-3:30 On measuring the immeasurable: church sexual abuse Jerry Platt
3:30-4:00 Coffee break
4:00-4:30 Healing of traumatized neuro-biological connections Kurt Bickford
4:30-5:00 Strategies for rediscovering true self Tracy Covington