Listening Service Toolkit equips dioceses to address sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment
Image above: Central New York Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe, left; Central Pennsylvania Bishop Audrey Scanlon, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Olympia Bishop Greg Rickel and House of Bishops Vice President and El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves pray July 4 during the House of Bishop’s “Liturgy of Listening” session at General Convention in Austin, Texas. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service
The Listening Liturgy Leadership Team of The Episcopal Church has developed a new resource document, A Listening Service Toolkit, to support dioceses considering a liturgical response to sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment in church and society.
“A Listening Service Toolkit clearly illustrates the seriousness of these issues and how the Episcopal Church leadership is committed to addressing these issues,” noted the Rt. Rev. DeDe Duncan-Probe of the Diocese of Central New York, who chaired the Listening Liturgy Leadership Team. “The Toolkit addresses issues, outlines parameters and provides a liturgy.”
As noted in the opening letter of the Toolkit:
The purpose of this toolkit is to share lessons learned in the planning and implementation of the 2018 General Convention House of Bishops Listening Liturgy, as a prayerful response to sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment in the Church. It is the hope of the Listening Liturgy Leadership Team (LLLT) that this resource will offer support and empowerment for dioceses who may be considering a liturgical response of their own. First and foremost, a diocese must carefully discern if a Listening Liturgy would be efficacious, as it necessitates tremendous vulnerability and courage for the Truth Tellers who courageously share their painful experiences, for the LLLT, for diocesan leadership, and for those who will serve on the Pastoral Care Response Team (PCRT) subsequent to the liturgy. It is important to note that, for the 2018 General Convention (GC79), we determined that a Listening Liturgy would be the most efficacious way for the gathered body to speak, hear, and respond to the abuses that take place in our Church. Liturgy offers a safe, secure “container” in which the truth of the most horrific abuses may be seen, heard, and held before the mercy and healing power of God in our midst.