October in New England

Our Lord is so kind.  A friend invited me to Upstate New York to share with his community, hope for healing from sexual abuse.  Upstate New York in October is amazing.  I have heard the colors are beautiful.  It’s true, and the best way to appreciate it is to witness it in person.  Not only have I enjoyed sharing for our Lord, I have experienced the beauty first hand.  That is so kind.

I walked through the campus of Williams College yesterday in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The colors enhanced the majesty of the little town and campus.  Williams was founded in the late 1700s. A forgotten fact of history is that the Haystack revival in 1806 began at Williams College. The revival led Samuel Mills and four other men to launch the first foreign missionaries to go with the gospel.

Today, Williams College is known as the most expensive college in the country; to the tune of 70K a year.  I walked through the campus and wondered what do you get for a quarter of a million dollars in return?  Williams is a long way from its roots as a religious institution.  Some say it ranks with the leading Ivy schools in embracing liberalism.  It is comforting to know that grace is free.  Man’s knowledge has erected a magnificent institution surrounded by the beauty of nature, and yet inside the walls there is little if any truth from the leaders.  There is a lot of capital moving through Williamstown, but so little hope.

I also had the privilege to share with pastors and counselors yesterday about the epidemic of sexual abuse in all communities.  I challenged the pastors to give one Sunday a year to a sermon on the nature, prevalence, and damage caused by abuse.  On Tuesday evening I was part of a panel in Albany, New York that was addressing pedophilia in a large Christian denomination.  Just last May allegations emerged of abuse by clergy within a local church.  In just four months the survivors are coming out and sharing incidents of abuse.   The magnitude is overwhelming…heartbreaking.  The good news is that the community came together to acknowledge the issue in a public forum. The greater news is during the two hours they began to heal.  Acknowledging the truth; speaking out both as individuals and a community; having the courage to fight the shame and criticism and the sparks of healing emerged.  I was so blessed to see in person what I believe is the need across this country in every community.  The silence must be addressed.  Too many are living in shame and too many are perpetrating evil on innocent children.

I have a few more days and opportunities in the Albany area to share and witness the joy of hope.  This can happen in every community.  A pastor came to me after lunch yesterday and said, “Bill, you can have a Sunday morning service at our church any time.”  Every time I have the chance to share a little I gain a little more healing.  Isn’t our Lord kind?

http://www.absc.org/resourcesmedia/49-haystack-prayer-meeting.html

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About Bill Harbeck

Founder and Director of Holding on to Hope Ministries. A non-profit work that helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse unveil their past and begin the healing process. Author of the book Shattered; One Man's Journey from Childhood Sexual Abuse
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