Dare to Care: A Wholistic Approach to Preventing the Sexual Abuse of Children
Advanced Sexual Ethics Workshop
April 30th 2019
9:30 am – 3pm
Asbury UMC in Allentown
Cost is $35 ~ Lunch is provided
Contact Jacqueline Hines for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-963-1721
Learn Primary Prevention of Abuse This Eastertide As we continue to celebrate Easter on the way to Pentecost, our calling is to continually announce and model new life in Christ. What better way to answer this call than to help prevent abuse?!
On April 30th EPA Pastors and interested laity will have the opportunity to learn a vital method for stopping abuse before it even happens. It is called Primary Prevention, and it has to do with noticing and responding appropriately to behaviors that indicate a tendency toward abusiveness in those around us. This is not an accusatory approach, but rather a grace-filled caring for brothers and sisters who may be on a path of harm for others and for themselves. Christ’s call for us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to do unto others what we would have them do to us, certainly includes learning to recognize these “red flag” behaviors and to reach out to help our neighbors and colleagues find another path. In many settings, especially schools and colleges, this has become known as “active bystander training,” and it works.
This may sound like a difficult and uncomfortable task, and it can be. However, in this EPA training there will be opportunities to learn and practice grace-filled, helpful responses and how to de-escalate situations, as well as to identify what kinds of behaviors need addressing.
The training will be led by retired Pastor Bev Andrews, former chair of the EPAUMC ICARE Team which deals with sexual misconduct cases in churches, and by Elaine Spangler, retired public school teacher and widow of former UMC pastor Dennis Spangler.
Each of them brings to this training a heartfelt desire to prevent the damage of abuse, sexual or otherwise, in the lives of both individuals and congregations and for both initiators and recipients of such behaviors. Each understands the topic “up close” and has done prayerful research on it. Together, they offer a unique opportunity to learn prevention beyond “stranger danger” and other approaches that put the responsibility for prevention on the potential recipient of abuse.
Join them on April 30 at Asbury UMC, Allentown, PA from 8:30-3:00 to equip yourself to love your potentially abusive neighbor in ways that can avoid harm to everyone. Training is limited to 30 persons to allow for practice and feedback.
Presenters: Mrs. Elaine Spangler and Rev. Beverly Andrews
There is no doubt that sexual abuse, especially of children, is horribly destructive to its victims, their families and to our society as a whole. However, perhaps equally devastating, but rarely mentioned, are the damaging effects on the offender and the collateral damage to the offender’s family. Truly there are no winners, only losers in any situation involving sexual abuse. Our current Safe Sanctuaries Policy focuses on logistical procedures for prevention. However, this workshop focuses on primary prevention, that is, how to notice “red flag behaviors” and effectively address potential offenders before any abuse even happens. We must dare to care about both potential victims, and potential offenders as God’s beloved children. By “speaking the truth in love” and responding to problematic behaviors and situations in a caring and compassionate way, we can complete the full work of preventing these tragedies. The goal of our workshop is to equip pastors for leading their congregations in dealing proactively with potential abuse in its earliest stages.
Elaine Spangler is a member of Grandview UMC in Lancaster, PA where she sings in the choir and is a member of the safe-sanctuary team. She is a retired physical educator but finds great enjoyment and purpose in quilting and other sewing-based endeavors including inspirational banners for her church. She is the widow of Dennis Spangler, a former UMC pastor, who was serving an 8-20 year prison sentence for sexual abuse of an adolescent. As a couple, they were united in their desire to share their story and work to prevent future abuse. Elaine hopes to continue this by educating and encouraging others to do all they can to prevent abuse and to assist persons who might be at-risk to offend to get the help they need before an offense occurs. In addition, Elaine is an active member of Have a Heart, a local advocacy group that works to improve the criminal justice and prison systems in Lancaster County. She is willing to openly share her experiences in these areas in order to effect the change that so greatly needs to happen.
Bev Andrews is a retired licensed local pastor in the EPA Conference, as well as a consecrated diaconal lay minister. She’s also a clergy spouse (Rick Andrews, retired), mother and grandmother. For almost 20 years Bev served on the ICARE Team, responding to situations of sexual misconduct within Conference churches involving both clergy and lay persons. She has conducted many advanced sexual ethics trainings over those years, as well as outside our Conference. Bev is honored to be a part of this long overdue training which ICARE had discussed for years before the right “direct experience” person came along in Elaine to make it truly reality based.