BTSS 2021

Well, this wasn’t the year that any of us wanted. I’ve said in my parish several times that this season in our lives surely hasn’t gone as planned. For Break The Silence Sunday we should have been gearing up for the United Church of Christ’s General Synod this summer, expanding our outreach, getting more churches to participate after the success of passing our resolution in 2019, and generally doing amazing things with and for survivors in the church. But then, we all know how the story goes – covid. It’s been a challenging time to be a survivor, and a local church pastor. My pastoral care calls from survivors, about the challenges these times have brought, have tripled. It’s not just covid, but the isolation that has brought has been extremely difficult for many survivors. Add that to the rest of what we have lived through in this past year and it’s pushed a lot of people to the edge of their coping skills.

I am not providing new liturgies this year partly because the ones for 2020, along with the amazing survivor reflections that were included last year, didn’t get seen or used and they deserve to be. But it’s also because the decision about if to have a BTSS observance in your community needs a lot of careful consideration. Many congregations are still in virtual only mode and that presents its own challenges to providing care for survivors during and after the service. Other congregations and communities, like my own parish, are in a combined mode and that is a different set of challenges. Instead in this space in the next about week I’ll be posting some links to videos you can include, and the texts of the prayers in the videos, that will at least open up some space to let survivors know you’re with them.

There is a lengthy introduction in the materials this year because there’s stuff that needs to be said, some groups and work you need to know about, a personal remembrance about my friend Gwen, and some information you need to consider about the musician David Haas and other “celebrities” whose abuse has become known in recent months.

The materials are linked below.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if there’s a way we can help your community, or you personally, with Break The Silence Sunday, or with simply the work of being a survivor in the world these days.

Peace and grace,