Angelika Dawson

Elsie Goerzen is the Abuse Response and Prevention program coordinator for MCC BC. She holds a copy of the newly updated booklet: Understanding sexual abuse by a church leader or caregiver.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. -- An updated booklet on sexual abuse in the church is now available to congregations, free of charge, from your local MCC office.

Sexual abuse by church leaders is a topic many would rather avoid, said Elsie Goerzen,  program coordinator for MCC BC’s Abuse Response and Prevention Program. However, for those who have experienced abuse in this way, the effects can be devastating. Sexual abuse is often misunderstood and misnamed. Often, it is the victims who are blamed, rather than their perpetrators.

Understanding sexual abuse by a church leader or caregiver grew out of a desire to respond to the difficulties faced by survivors and churches in the aftermath of sexual abuse by a church leader. It was recognized that more information was needed and the booklet was first published in 2003.

“The knowledge and understanding this booklet provides could spare so much grief in the church,” says Goerzen.

 The booklet starts with the Biblical text as its foundation and provides a clear definition of what constitutes sexual abuse by a church leader or caregiver. It includes a composite story of actual abuse experiences, gives tools to help individuals and groups understand some of the dynamics of sexual abuse, and provides a list of suggested resources for further study.

 Understanding sexual abuse by a church leader or caregiver is available free as a booklet by calling your nearest MCC office in Canada at 1-888-622-6337, in the U.S. at 888-563-4676, or by downloading it at

 Angelika Dawson is a writer for MCC British Columbia.