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Charles Moore
Charles Moore

Church Stands Against bullying

This post does not propose here to say more about the topic of discrimination against LGTB individuals even though this group is at the sharp end of exclusion and bullying. My comment here is not to discuss the rights and wrongs of this cause, but merely to draw attention to the obscenity of bullying anyone and trying to drive them from the Christian family. Some weeks ago, I wrote about the Vicky Beeching story as well as the experiences of Jayne Ozanne. At the heart of the stories was the appalling bullying that these women receive. Christians somehow believe that it is their task to bully and use their power to try to seek and destroy another human being. To me such behaviour was and is a veritable blasphemy.

Church stands against bullying

Church members can model love and respect within church walls, and continue the conversation when people leave the buildings and turn on their phones.McMullen says the church should always be a safe space and offer the connections needed to make true friendships offline, too. "Reacting to bullying and hate with more bullying and hate does nothing. It's easy to send a nasty post back when someone says something mean; it's harder to hold them with kindness. Kindness and understanding, however, are the only ways things will change and put an end to the cycle of bullying."

Barras referred to a comment from Pope Francis, in a filmed documentary last fall, as a clear and direct statement against bullying. Pope Francis said, "Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it."

When I asked the group of young men and women what they could do that week to stand up against bullying at school, they stated that they could work on sarcasm, stop making jokes at another's expense, and help a kid with cerebral palsy get stronger in the weight room.

Stand for the Silent has traveled around the world talking to thousands of schools, community centers, churches and organizations. We will not stop until each and every person has heard about the effects of bullying. Read more

Faith-based organizations across the country showed their spirit by going purple for #SpiritDay this year, supporting LGBTQ youth and taking a stand against bullying. By going purple in public ways, these faith groups have come together to send a message of pride, acceptance, and encouragement for LGBTQ youth in the U.S. and abroad.

Another organization that joined in Spirit Day is Outreach Faith: A Catholic Resource. They posted a wonderful article on their website, calling out churches for staying silent when they see bullying occur and encouraging them to do more. Then, Father Jim Martin posted a video highlighting the statisitcs surrounding LGBTQ students who are bullied in school and related that injustice to quotes from the Bible.

Is bullying more likely in one church structure than another? Does a plurality of elders with none dominant help to act as a check o bullying? Do hierarchical church structures give too much power to an individual? Is a pastor with absolute authority a good thing?

I strongly suggest that all readers of this blog who are interested in the topic of bullying in the church should go to the ABEL (Against Bullying Encouraging Love) website where they will find all the presentations from the Conference to watch again as well as a number of resources they may find helpful.

Guess spreads her message throughout the community, speaking at local churches and schools about the importance of standing together and taking action against bullying. At the Washington Street Baptist Church, the youth joined Guess by writing pledges to stop bullying.

Recognizing bullyingI realize that change is a difficult concept and process for many churches, and that many churches and clergy have little or no training in dealing with the exponential change we find ourselves in these days. Such a deficit raises fears, anxieties and frustration levels when things do not go a preferred or familiar way in a church.

Having coached with clergy and other church leaders, it is clear to me that pastor bashing and bullying is a critical issue in many churches regardless of size, type, theology, age of church or median age of the congregation. Church bullies not only do not want to change their preferences, but they want to blame others in order to protect their preferred ways or comfort zone. I have heard of or experienced church bullying in a variety of ways in a church:

I have just left a church which I loved. I have been through lots of things including great poverty This women had helped me and I was extremely grateful, but helpful turned into control and when I started getting independent. Then the bullying started, if I disagreed, if I put as much as foot wrong, Digs, telling off, insults. I tried not to argue and went to the churches seniors, a young pastor family. Only told that adults we both were. I got no support, and the bullying continued. Now am without a church, faith has taken a battering, as feeling anger, bitterness. I believe now that they are hypocrites. They just stood by and said nothing. No phone calls nothing, so much for being one of the lords creatures. I do though still try and have faith.

Wells eventually had her daughter attend a different ward in a different stake to escape her tormentors. But not everyone is able to do so. Here are 8 pieces of advice from the experts about how to recognize, prevent, and correct bullying in a church environment:

This particular manicure got a lot of attention! New York Reverend Gary Brinn of Sayville Congregational United Church of Christ painted his nails blue in an effort to take a stand against bullying and make a statement that would ripple throughout the community.

A group of prominent Utahns has come together to launch a public-private partnership of educators and business leaders against bullying in schools. Launched Friday at Herriman High School with help from the Utah Jazz Bear, the Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition has the goal that all Utah schools should be places in which children feel safe and welcome.

How does one find help against bullying and sexual harassment not related to an ex-husband or job?I need help and I need it fast! I do not know what to do! I feel helpless and right now hopeless!Anyone with any information, please please help!

"I was bullied by a parent and a sibling so I know what it does to a person. I know what it's like to not want to wake up the next day and you are just so miserable and you've been so humiliated, so torn up, you think you are worthless," said Coughlin, founder of The Protectors, an organization aimed at equipping children, parents, and school officials against the rising trend of bullying.

There is a lot about bullying in the headlines these days! Bullying on school buses. Bullying on the internet. Bullying in the work place. But bullying in church? It is as old as the New Testament. The Apostle John wrote in his third letter about a man named Diotrephes.

Bullying in the church is a tough subject because is touches us all. A.T. Robertson wrote, "Some forty years ago I wrote an article on Diotrephes for a denominational paper. The editor told me that twenty-five deacons stopped the paper to show their resentment against being personally attacked."

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand how that they have a responsibility to stand up against bullying whenever they can? And that they have friends and mutual leaders who they can talk to if they feel unsafe? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Unfortunately leaders do not take bullying seriously, at least in my ward and stake. I really wish the First Presidency would address this problem in the church more frequently. If my family and I did not believe the church doctrine restored we would have left the church for good after a horrible bullying incident and the lack of empathy and action by the leaders and parents of the bullies. Hind sight is 20/20, I kick myself for not involving the police and pressing charges. The leaders failed my child.

"If someone is bullying another person at church, odds are that it is continuing online," said Chris Wilterdink, director of program development for young people's ministry at the General Board of Discipleship.

Some bullying behavior in church may result from a person's misdirected attempts at leadership, Halverson added. "Bullying is about control. It can sometimes be that a bully simply needs to be redirected to a more healthy way of providing leadership."

Setting behavioral expectations is a good first step in helping prevent bullying behavior. Haller suggests using time during church meetings to discuss the topic, not electing bullies to positions of leadership and training clergy and laity in how to deal graciously with bullies and conflict.

There are many venues out there to discuss bullying; three are particularly helpful places to start. offers a tremendous amount of information and detail regarding the issue nation-wide. offers resources and programs for local communities. Finally, is a faith based anti-bullying organization. They offer trainings for faith based and non-faith based groups as well as resources and insight for this ongoing, ever evolving issue.Christ calls us to care for the least of these. When it comes to bullying, we all lose. It is time for all of us in the church to speak out. It is time for us to be the hands and feet, the eyes, ears and voice of those who feel they cannot and are dying in silence.*****[1] -facts-about-bullying-in-america-2013-10#ixzz2iap7Gj74, Accessed 23 October 2013.[2], Accessed 23 October 2013.[3], Accessed 23 October 2013.[4] Luther Smith, Jr. Children, Youth, and Spirituality in a Troubling World, ed. [Moore and Wright], p. 20. St. Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2008.[5], Accessed 23 October 2013.*****Amy Jacober is the proud mom of two beautiful girls and one handsome son and wife of one husband. They spend loads of time as a family doing ministry together. When not at camp or on a mission trip, they can be found at home cooking and playing games. She is a professor of youth ministry, serves as a volunteer with teens and loves to write and read with the intent of being a part of kingdom work. She has most recently authored The Adolescent Journey and has two new projects in the works.


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