Below you’ll find an article written by Ruth Garvey-Williams which first appeared in the Presbyterian Herald last Autumn (used with her permission) – It contains the story of a Student in Dublin who got involved in a very disturbing and destructive group under the guise of “a Bible study group”.
This group turned out to be linked to a “church” in South Korea – Shincheonji (SCJ)- but as you will read in this article – the behaviour displayed by the group is seen by Head of safeguarding in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland as ‘grooming behaviour’
… having worked in the field of exploitation for a lengthy period, I could clearly see all the hallmarks of deliberate grooming behaviour in this practice, including:
gaining the trust of a young person by using someone (even vaguely) known to them in order to get them to meet with a ‘harvester’ for the cult;
isolating them from their family and friends, so that they cannot be dissuaded to depart from the cult;
fulfilling a need by purporting to be able to help them really understand the Bible properly;
being controlling, and insisting on attendance at meetings and events, without choice, thereby maintaining control. There is nothing healthy, in a spiritual sense or otherwise, about such tactics to control another human being
The reason for sharing this article is that as Rector I am aware that this group is active in Cork City at the moment and I wanted to bring light to the subject.
There is help, care & support available.
I also want to assure anyone who is concerned about this that I & our staff team are available to discuss any pastoral concerns.
The Reverend Robert Ferris, Rector of Carrigrohane Union will be taking 2 days this week to sit outside parish buildings to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity & Christian Aid – both organisations are working with locals on the ground in border countries of Ukraine.
Robert is going to sit outside two of the Parish Buildings from 9am-5pm The Church of the Resurrection, The Square, Blarney on Monday 28th March and The Carraig Centre, Old Quarter Ballincollig on Tuesday 29th March
To raise money for the work of Habitat for Humanity and Christian Aid’s work in Eastern Europe.
The money raised by this Sit-out is part of the Parishes fundraising for the crisis and 100% of the money raised will go via the Church of Ireland’s Bishop’s Appeal to the areas affected and where partners are working on the ground.
Revd Robert Ferris says – It is so hard to know what to do in these circumstances – obviously Prayer for and practical assistance to those who we know need help is important however there is always something more that could be done.
I have been reading the reports coming back from those organisations which the Church of Ireland Bishops Appeal have been supporting in recent days and want to support that front line work as much as possible. I hope over the course of a couple of days to raise some much-needed funds to support those at Ukraine’s borders, supplying the necessities of life to those who are in desperate need.
In a recent update to Bishop’s Appeal … Jenny Williams, Chief Officer of Habitat, summarises the situation and outlines where Church of Ireland funds are being directed.
She says: “We are so thankful for that support which was mobilised by Bishops’ Appeal, and for all the support from churches. “When conflict threatens to overwhelm, I am drawn to the words of Clarence Jordan, the spiritual father of Habitat who said, ‘It is not enough to limit your love to your own nation, to your own group. You must respond with love even to those outside of it…This concept enables people to live together not as nations, but as the human race.’ “In the pain of war we are praying that God’s peace and presence would be real, and that there would be a welcome wherever refugees need to find safe places to stay. “The numbers of people fleeing from the place they call home is growing by the hour. UNHCR now estimate more than 2 million people have already fled their homes and many more are on the move. “My colleagues on the borders are sharing heart-breaking stories of the women and children arriving with only what they can carry. “Our focus is both on supporting people on the move and the longer–term shelter needs in host communities. “Immediate needs: heat for camps, as well as temporary beds and emergency basic care kits which include power banks for phones, travel vouchers, some local currency and other essentials. “In Romania many of the refugees will move onto other destinations and we are working in partnership with estate agents and hotel chains to ensure families have a safe place to rest, catch their breath and make plans for what is next. “Our longer focus is already being put into place: “Across the 4 neighbouring countries Habitat is helping coordinate what we are currently calling ‘Solidarity Shelter’ in partnership with local government and cities to help match and support refugees with shelter in private homes and in empty apartments. “We also expect the scale up of our ‘empty spaces’ programme across the region which will require renovation of currently unused spaces, for example, in Poland we already deliver this in unused attic spaces of apartment buildings. “Once funds are transferred, we will send on immediately.”
If you are new to the parish and would like to be able to vote at our annual meeting coming up later this year
Please download and fill out the attached form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org or the parish office at the Carraig Centre by 5pm on Monday 7th March – forms are also available at church this sunday.