Hope Of Survivors

Rating: 4.91 stars   124 reviews

Nonprofit Issues:

Mental Health, Human Services

Address:

843 Broadway Sonoma CA 95476 USA

Mission:

The Hope of Survivors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting victims of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct, as well as providing educational and informational materials and seminars to pastors and churches worldwide. Other divisions include: Latino, Australia, Romania, UK and Canada. Professional memberships include: Adventist Association of Family Life Professionals (AAFLP), Adventist-laymen''s Services & Industries (ASI), Outpost Centers International (OCI), the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and the International Board of Christian Counselors.

Results:

The Hope of Survivors has assisted thousands of victims in various ways since the organization began in 2002.

Target demographics:

victims of clergy sexual abuse

Direct beneficiaries per year:

approximately 100 new victims, while maintaining support for prior victims

Geographic areas served:

International

Programs:

The Hope of Survivors currently offers several resource materials (booklets, DVDs, etc.) that address the issue of clergy sexual abuse from various perspectives (victim, youth, pastor, church, general, overview of ministry). These resources are very critical components of the educational and awareness work of The Hope of Survivors ministry. These materials are used in clergy education seminars, church congregations and among individuals around the world. We also provide ongoing, free support to victims via email and phone, as well as offer in-house programs (for a fee) at our Renewal Center and seminars around the country and world.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

866-260-8958
http://www.thehopeofsurvivors.com

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Reviews for Hope Of Survivors

Rating: 4 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

My wife was sexually exploited by our pastor while seeking counseling for depression and anxiety. Over the years he had positioned himself as a close friend and kept me as an insider. However, our relationship was usually strained and confusing as he would take advantage of me and several close friends in a variety of situations.

After a failed attempt at suicide, I finally I began to dig. While our pastor had been counseling me to not ask questions concerning her worsening depression, claiming that much of it was due to my "neediness," I finally found evidence of him speaking to her in an inappropriate tone online. In way that could be taken as the playful joking of close friends, but my spirit knew better. I asked her the right question, and our world fell apart.

There is not room here to properly tell the story of how this unfolded. The aggression. The manipulation. The denial. The loss of friends. How our church nearly died. How it is still limping a year later. How the friendships that did survive were horribly wounded, changed forever.

Not to mention, we were the lucky ones. Most predators in the powerful position of spiritual authority are not held accountable. The sensitive issue or sexual abuse makes it more than difficult for anyone to know what to do. The work of The Hope of Survivors, Baylor University, and the Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute at St. John's Abbey and University can help educate churches and congregant and prepare them for these situations. Without them, I do not know what we would have done. We were lucky that our elders had the integrity to stand up for us whatever it cost.

Many churches feel powerless and are afraid of what it would cost to stand up to abusers who stand behind the pulpit each week. The Hope of Survivors is one of the (very, very) few resources available to them. They offered us help and asked nothing in return.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My wife was sexually exploited by our pastor while seeking counseling for depression and anxiety. Over the years he had positioned himself as a close friend and kept me as an insider. However, our relationship was usually strained and confusing as he would take advantage of me and several close friends in a variety of situations. See full story in the review.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would make more effort to present an ecumenical, interdenominational (or perhaps interfaith) face. While working with churches of all denominations (and even some clients who are not Christians at all), the roots in Seventh Day Adventism is often an obstacle for those who do know much about it. It wasn't for us, but I have seen it affect others. The people involved do nothing to create this obstacle, but the language and resources are often heavy with Adventist language and references.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Online.

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

To be educated and empowered to overcome my vulnerabilities. It has also encouraged my compassion towards abuse victims of all types.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Just to clarify, The Hope of Survivors works with victims and church leaders of all denominations. The fact that the founders are Seventh-day Adventists, as are many of the board members, should be a non-issue, as The Hope of Survivors is not about a denomination or set of beliefs. Many of The Hope of Survivors' volunteers are not Seventh-day Adventists, but are from many other denominations, and our board of directors is looking for qualified Christian individuals of other faiths to participate. We are Christians providing a service to those of any religious faith who are in need. THOS is about providing Biblical counsel, support and materials to victims and church leaders. We reference many other denominational websites on our Resources page--from Methodist to Orthodox and many other religions/denominations in between. We have worked with Buddhists and Muslims as well. While we may include quotes from Adventist authors on our website (we include quotes from other denominational leaders too) and in our materials, these quotes are Biblical and only lend credibility to the seriousness of the issue of clergy sexual abuse and provide encouraging and comforting words to victims.

Review from Guidestar
Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

We cannot survive without attachments. In a time of need, I turned to a professional, someone I had been taught in my childhood to be a representative of God. I developed an attachment to him. He told me there was no reason not to trust him. It turned out there were good reasons not to trust him the way I am meant to trust God.
I cannot imagine anyone going through an experience like mine without a resource like Hope of Survivors. They believed me.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

With each step I took to report what happened, I knew I was not alone.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Create an on line support group of survivors...to help them help each other and lessen the burden placed on the organization's staff.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

There is a great lack of resources in the area of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct. I was fortunate to find THOS by seaching the internet, and was personally helped by the caring concern and biblical counsel available. There is truly no other organization to my knowledge that provides this personal counseling approach to such a specific and poorly understood area of abuse, and it certainly was a breakthrough moment in my healing from being abused by my pastor. The written materials and information on the web site were also very useful.

One of the reasons this organization is so important and effective, is the personal experience of the founders and many of the volunteers. When someone can not only understand objectively what you've been through, but also related and understand through the lens of personal experience, it really makes a difference and provides much needed support and the foundation for trust and honest disclosure for the victim.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I no longer suffer in silence, but have experienced a great degree of healing from the abuse I went through. Healing is a process that I believe will not be fully complete until heaven, but the counseling I received was instrumental in beginning this process.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would increase awareness of this growing problem of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct, and therefore hopefully decrease the stigma associated with this type of abuse, thereby increasing the support of this organization, both financially and through more volunteers and assistance in running the daily operations of the organization. Unfortunately, increased awareness requires funding and manpower, which is severly lacking due to the economy, lack of awareness, and many other factors.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Searching the internet

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I came across this website while I was searching for information about clergy sexual misconduct. The information found on their website and contact by email was crucial in helping me understand the signs of what I was starting to suspect that my now former pastor was trying to do. Because of the information I received, I was able to tell my husband of the pastor's behavior around me and our daughter also confided in us that he had acted inappropriately with her as well. We were able to leave the situation before anything more damaging was done.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

They have helped me understand that I am not alone, that even though it seems that the abusing pastor seems to have gotten away with this and has caused much pain that I don't have to worry about justice being done, b/c he will be held accountable one day. I just need to refocus on the Lord, find my strength in Him and walk one day at a time before Him.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not change a thing. They have been wonderful and understanding as only those who have experienced this kind of situation can be.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

When no one else we reached out to could fathom the devastating effects of the clergy sexual abuse we had experienced, THOS helped my wife and I through the most emotionally shattering time in our lives. THOS understood the trauma my wife was suffering and pulled her through that experience with their dedicated and skillful counselors and professional resources that are based in true human love and care. They helped me to understand the depths of that betrayal and to come to terms with my own role, confusion and mix of overwhelming emotions. I honestly don't know where we would be today if THOS had not been there for us with their deep care, ready support and experienced understanding.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the healing of a severely traumatic experience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...increase their funding so that they could expand their staffing and services enabling them to reach more victims in need. For example, Samantha seems to always be working exceptionally long hours and days and could really use an assistant.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Online

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

Life saving!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

THOS, Samantha Nelson and one of their volunteers/pastors have provided essential support to me and my husband in our recovery from clergy sexual abuse. I first contacted THOS in April of 2010, while seeking support for the devastation that my husband and I were facing.

The aftermath of our experience probably marked the darkest periods of our lives, having been betrayed by a spiritual leader toward whom we we had both given our total trust and devotion. Samantha immediately responded to my desperation and grief with the sensitivity, care and respect of a loving mother to her child. She was also able to provide guidance coming from direct experience, having been a survivor of clergy abuse herself, as well as wisdom born from her deep faith and commitment to her own spiritual growth.

One of their volunteer pastors who was assigned to me as a counselor was just as amazing, kind and skillful in his guidance. An experienced and learned, deeply spiritual, wise and compassionate man, he was able to provide clear insight and guidance to my husband and I. It is obvious that THOS only seeks volunteers and personnel of great integrity, faith and compassion.

Since that day in April of 2010, Samantha has remained a steady support to my husband and I, from our most painful days to the present in our continuing recovery and healing. I have become much stronger, but it wouldn't have been possible without THOS's dedicated help.

I feel as though we have made friends for life in THOS and their loving stewards.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...spiritual, psychological and emotional healing.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...clone Samantha and Steve Nelson, Martin Weber and other volunteers like him. I'd also provide much needed financial support to expand personnel and outreach services. Samantha works far too many days and hours. Additional personnel and funding will better help THOS to thrive. I have not met with another more organized, dedicated, professional and brave organization, providing clergy abuse support to all parties involved, and THOS's educational and support services are so critical to people's lives.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Google search

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

Profound change, on all levels

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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Review from Guidestar
Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I come from a well thought of family. Neither family or church members believe that clergy sexual abuse could happen to me. Actually I grew up being abused by religious leaders. And again as an adult. I learned changing churches did not guarantee safety.
At a convention last summer (2010) I came across The Hope of Survivors booth. Unexpectedly I immediately felt safe. I did get acquainted with Samantha and Steve Nelson, founders, and a few of the volunteers. They listened and believed me. When one learned something said had inadvertently hurt me a genuine apology was quickly sent. The volunteer who is working with me gives freedom of choice, believes me! For me an important thing is knowing I'm daily prayed for.
I appreciate their balanced approach. That they realize that more than the two involved are affected. But also their families, friends, and church members. Besides getting great benefit myself I have told others about this organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that they are currently helping me overcome the emotional, spiritual and social effects of long term clergy sexual misconduct.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

1 Encourage them to continue their programs, with wise increase of personnel, materials, PR, and funding. 2. Greatly increase funding to: a) Educate members, clergy, church/denominational leadership to csa and beneficial responses so victims don't feel abandoned by God & people b) Establish safe places a victim of csa could go to begin picking up the pieces. c) Increase other language work, workers, and materials.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Pasted The Hope of Survivors booth and received material they handed out. Read it. Came back and talked. Went home read all they have on the internet. Made contact.

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

I'm different than 8 months ago. They've keep their promise not to aban- don me, They have done a lot of caring listening. They offer safety, hope, and a God I want to know. I'm beginning to have hope and trust - to the point of writing a review. But I don't have a clear cut answer to your question.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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Review from Guidestar
Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

After my wife was the victim of clergy sexual abuse by the Associate Pastor at our United Methodist Church, Hope of Survivors was the best organization I found to help both of us understand what happened and to heal and recover. Hope of Survivors provided excellent resources as well as support via phone and email. They also provide resources which we will now use to push for changes in our church's policies and practices to protect our congregation and other pastors from this in the future. (The pastor who did this to us resigned after I confronted him, so he is no longer there.) I will be an on-going supporter and donor to this vitally important organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I personally benefited from the compassionate and knowledgeable support that Hope of Survivors provides to victims of clergy sexual abuse. They helped me and my family recover, and now they are helping us protect the rest of our church.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would contact leaders of our military bases as military spouses are particularly vulnerable to clergy sexual abuse and should be warned of this danger. I would also make the DVD videos available via Youtube, so that more people become aware of how prevalent clergy sexual abuse is.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

by searching "affair with my pastor" on the Internet

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

Hope of Survivors has helped me recover and now fight to prevent clergy sexual abuse from hurting anyone else in our church.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been personally blessed by this ministry in so many ways! I have received personal counsel through this ministry concerning my abuse and I attribute my the beginning of healing wholeheatedly to the work that they do. I am a survivor of pastoral abuse. If I hadn't have come in contact with this ministry I would still feel like a victim with little hope. That is why the name of their ministry is so great because i don't have to be a victim or be hopeless anymore.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

All areas of my life. It has saved my marriage and my life.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make it more accessible and visible to the public because thousands of victims can truly be helped by the info they provide and counsel they give.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

We were introduced to Hope of Survivors two years ago when dealing with the abuse perpetrated on my wife by our "Senior Pastor". I was one of his staff pastors for 17+ years. His abuse of my wife nearly destroyed her, our marriage and our home. When we blew the whistle on this predator there was absoulutely no help from the rest of the staff that I was a part of for the better part of two decades or the fellowship that I had served in (and grown up in) for 23 years. Everyone was lost in a fog of disbelief, their own hurts and betrayels (the whole story is incredibly ugly with 10 women having come forward at this point, with stories that covered the entire span of this mans 30+ year ministry.) And the prevailing wisdom was to try and cover things up as quietly as possible. Even though the monster involved lost his credentials and his position all of the leadership at every level was absolutely useless to any of the victims. Still are at this moment over 2 years later. Hope of Survivors was a lifeline. We attended a conference with them that year and were sorrounded with love and compassion that was instrumental in our healing process. We were sorrounded by others who understood and were not driven by their own fears, insecurities or politics like we experienced with our church and fellowship. Those two days were a catalyst for freedom and healing. The THOS website in and of itself is an incredible resource that we have been able learn and grow from. It has also been a place that we have sent numerous people who need teaching and training regarding an evil that is usually covered up and ignored. THOS has been and still is a tremendous avenue of support like nothinig else that we have experienced or have been able to find as we have walked out the last 2 years. THOS is providing an avenue for healing and exposure for an need that has been ignored and swept under the carpet for way too long. They are meeting a serious need in an area with catastrophic wounds with love and mercy and grace. THOS is an amazing organization!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the healing and restoration of my wife. THOS was instrumental in opening a door to freedom that we have not found anywhere else.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give them the opportunity, resources and staffing to be available whenever and wherever the need was made known.

 
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Review from Guidestar