NEWTON, NJ – Ginnie’s House, Sussex County’s Child Advocacy Center, hosted a Pastors’ Lunch at Dre’s on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at noon.
Located in Newton, Ginnie’s House provides a safe, child friendly environment for child abuse investigations and treatment.
“Clergy are, by the nature of their calling, the recipient of details of many private or family issues, and sometimes this includes abuse, including child abuse,” said Alexandra Miller, a Ginnie’s House Board Member. “This is a very difficult subject to deal with and we want pastors to be aware of our services and expertise to assist them in helping congregants while following the law and policies. This means having the right tools ready when confronted with disclosures of abuse.”
“As a new board member to Ginnie’s House I agreed to take on the task of educating all the pastors in the county about childhood sexual abuse and how Ginnie’s House can be of service,” Miller added. “I was originally going to do it one coffee meeting at a time, but thanks to the generosity of Thorlabs offering to underwrite a Pastor’s Lunch, we can begin this task with a group meeting. Now pastors also have a chance to network with each other at the same time.”
All pastors of all denominations in the county were invited – a total of 61 invitations went out. Ginnie’s House members, including Rhona Beadle, Executive Director, and Ginnie Littell, Chairman of the Ginnie’s House board, presented clergy with information about childhood sexual abuse. Alexandra Miller, Psy.D.,led a discussion with questions for collaborative ideas on how both the clergy and Ginnie’s House can together prevent and report childhood sexual abuse. Pastors shared ideas on current policies and training that were in place and had an opportunity to ask Ginnie’s House members questions related to how to report childhood sexual abuse.
Also discussed was the “yuck factor.”
“When I say the ‘yuck factor’ I am referring to the uncomfortable feeling of having to report someone to the state for alleged abuse,” said Miller. “There are gray areas and many reasons which can make people uncomfortable about reporting.”
A three-course meal was served to pastors. Ginnie’s House will continue the Pastors’ Lunch annually.