A public statement addressed to those who were harmed at Jesus People.
April 24, 2023
To those who were harmed:
It has been our desire over the last several years to speak to those who were harmed as children and as adults at Jesus People USA, with deep regret, sadness and hope for restoration. Beginning in 2021, community meetings were held to discuss openly the allegations of historical sexual abuse. Over the months we talked as members of Jesus People, we considered the harm done, and we owned and grieved our shortcomings and missteps, both as individuals and as a religious community. In September of 2022, a community meeting was called to discuss the historical abuse and what we, the members of Jesus People, felt it was important to say as a group to those who have been harmed by sexual abuse. We share the following in the hopes it will bring healing, as a next step in the process of addressing abuse.
Abuse, and sexual abuse in particular, is by nature a secretive thing. Abuse is often revealed well past childhood. Upon hearing the allegations of sexual abuse that occurred here, in our home, in your home, we were shocked and dismayed. Initially, we responded with defensiveness and disbelief. We were not compassionate or sensitive to what victims were going through as they told their stories. That was wrong.
Other harms have been named, such as the abuse of power that favored some and not others, and harsh correction of children and adults. The impact of these offenses, and others, affects each person differently. We want to give space to each person to name these wrongs in their own way and the effect they have had.
We are sorry we did not listen better and that our defensiveness added to your pain and shame. We know this recognition of our own failure to support you when you needed it does not remove the hurt or heal the wounds. We are sorry we were so slow to hear and acknowledge how profoundly you were harmed. We did not honor the strength and courage it took for you to speak up. It is our hope that the wounds of abuse that began in darkness will have a chance to heal in the light. You did not deserve this, nor was it your fault. These things should not have been done to you.