Reaching out to those condemned as sinners


Craig Bennett, a volunteer chaplain, has a great story about reaching people hurt by the church.

We ran a suicide prevention and awareness program across Wollondilly Shire a long time ago.

We had a memorial service to celebrate the lives of those who have gone through suicide at a local hall.

asked an older lady how she found the service over a cup of tea.

She took my cup from me and put them on the kitchen bench. She then gripped both my wrists and looked me in the eyes, crying.

She told me how shortly after her son died, the preacher of the church they had attended for years preached how all who die of suicide go to hell 

The father stood up and took her and their daughter by their hand, and walked out. The preacher said, look at those sinners who dare walk out from God’s word. That is why their son killed himself.

She continued telling me. Craig, we never stopped believing in Jesus. But we have never been back in a church ever since. (16 years) But you have proven that the church does care, and we can find a congregation who will care for us. 

I walked out of the kitchen into the carpark and looked up to the sky. I said Lord, this whole event was worth it if it helped this lady and her family. 

The minister at Warragamba Anglican said to me at Synod one night that a (different)family walked into their church and said they knew the church could help them as they had seen the community flyers and posters. And had been recently rocked by a family member. 

Sometimes, the church can hurt people incredibly badly. And we need to be able to acknowledge the validity of that hurt and pain.

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