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Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College to Host One-Day Summit to Challenge and Inspire the Church to Address Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Abuse

November 1, 2018

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Studies have shown that up to 81% of women and 43% of men have experienced some form of sexual harassment—either verbal or physical—at some point in their lifetime. The numbers are appalling, and unfortunately, recent history has revealed that the epidemic of sexual violence and harassment is rampant not only outside our churches, but inside as well.  

In response to the growing number of stories of harassment and assault coming to light in our churches, the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College is hosting Reflections: A GC2 Summit on Responding to Sexual Violence.

The one-day evangelical conversation will be held December 13, 2018 at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. It will also be livestreamed. Exact times to be announced.

“One story of sexual harassment, abuse, or anything related is one too many, and leaders in the house of God must be equipped and encouraged to address the tragedy of sexual violence and harassment head on,” said Dr. Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. “This is an essential issue and we cannot sweep it under the rug. The way we respond to those who have been harmed at the hands of others is a direct reflection of our true faith. There is no way around it.”

A recent Lifeway Research study on #metoo—the hashtag campaign that took the country by storm—shows that more pastors say they are addressing sexual violence from the pulpit. Still, half say they lack training in how to address it. This even as two-thirds of pastors say domestic or sexual violence occurs in the lives of people in their congregation.

Reflections: A GC2 Summit on Responding to Sexual Violence is a one-day event which will challenge and inspire pastors and church leaders to address the very real tragedy in our churches and to begin the healing process of being who God designed all of us to be. The theme “Reflections” was chosen for its multiple use as looking directly at ourselves and our acts, the mental process which accompanies what we see, and the change that can happen as a result of repentance and transformation.

Christian leaders and speakers such as Beth Moore, Christine Caine, Max Lucado, Belinda Bauman, Eugene Cho, Nancy Beach, Ed Stetzer, York Moore, Laurel Bunker, and others will address issues like what the Bible says about this tragedy, the destruction of silence, how to protect those who are vulnerable and victimized, and the role of accountability in leadership. Speakers will also include survivors, trained trauma counselors, and advocates. All presenters are participating without renumeration. All proceeds will go to support a local nonprofit reaching out to women who have experienced sexual violence.

“The ears of the world are turned to the church to hear whether or not we care,” says Beth Moore. “More importantly, they are looking to us to see if we think Jesus cares. He cares. God forbid we wouldn’t address it. What could be much more crucial than this when it comes to loving our neighbor? Let’s find out together how Christ would have us respond in His name.”

The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and partnering organizations will produce a “Christian Response to Sexual Violence” document, which will include best practices for churches dealing with issues of sexual abuse and harassment.

Reflections: A GC2 Summit on Responding to Sexual Violence will be livestreamed as well. For more information and to register, visit GC2-Summit.com.

GC2 stands for “Great Commission/Great Commandment.” This is the third GC2 Summit hosted by the Billy Graham Center in as many years, the first being on the refugee crisis and the second on the problem of mass incarceration.

The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College is a world hub of mission and evangelism training, committed to equipping all Christians to show and share the love of Jesus in a broken and hurting world.