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Hope of Survivors

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Counseling, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Mental Health

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.

Community Stories

88 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Like many people who contact the Hope of Survivors, I too was a victim of spiritual abuse and clergy sexual abuse. When the abuse was first discovered, I was blamed for seducing the pastor into having an affair. I was so confused because I had gone to him for counseling, not an affair. I felt like the church had set me up to fail and offered no support for someone in my situation. Even worse, I began doubting myself, feeling like I was losing my sense of reality and feeling like God was angry with me. Thank goodness there is a resource out there that can explain clergy sexual abuse so effectively and help victims heal from this type of trauma. I have personally contacted a representative from the Hope of Survivors, and she was so supportive in a beautiful, non-judgemental way! If it wasn't for this organization, I don't know what I would have done. The Hope of Survivors is a much-needed outreach for those who have been hurt by the church and who need to know there is a compassionate God who is for them!

4

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a very effective and compassionate organization whose work deserves recognition and support. I have donated to them every year since 2009.

Previous Stories
6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was worried at first about trusting the people at "The Hope of Survivors" with my story of clergy sexual misconduct. What if they didn't believe me? What if they didn't keep my information confidential? Worst of all, what if they didn't understand? Well, I was amazed at how they did understand. They understood more than anyone else, and they helped guide me through the difficult process of bringing a complaint and eventually telling my husband what happened. What's more, they shared the truth God's love for me when I most needed to be reminded of it. I have never been helped by any organization as much as I was by this one. If not for them, I would not have come through this as well as I did.

Review from Guidestar

2 Tiffany F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended a Christian youth conference a few years ago where I met a Minister who was giving away literature about his ministry I took what he gave me and emailed later…At When I first started emailing he sent prayer requests, information on prayer etc… things seemed fine as conversation centered around Bible topics mostly. After awhile he began to introduce questionable comments in the conversation which should have warned me there was something wrong such as calling me darling or dear and adding kisses at the end of a messages, when I tried to addressed it he would just avoid explaining what he meant by it; and since he was so old compared to myself I thought it maybe saying kisses etc just an old person thing. But he soon turn out to be a very nasty mean old person pressuring me with explicit messages to submit to things I’d rather not do and would get mad if I didn’t talk to him. The Hope for Survivors helped me no longer feel powerless and trapped but safe with a strong protector to comfort him for me when I was too scared to. This ministry taught me many things to help me learn better how to not get myself hurt. Listening is the hardest lesson because it’s up to me.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My wife was abused by our pastor. We could not find anyone with the expertise to deal properly with this type of extreme betrayal. I am grateful my wife has found the website Hope For Survivors. It has helped her to see the situation of pastoral abuse properly, and to be able to forgive herself.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was the victim of Pastoral Abuse (indecent assault) from the Youth Leader at our Church - he was 24 years her senior. He adamantly denied being involved with anyone else ... since she spoke out at least 17 other victims have stepped out of the woodwork .... victims over 25 years, including minors. His Church and most of his immediate family whom we trusted and loved like family refuse to accept his Pastoral Abuse and instead have turned their ire onto us who they now choose to see as his and their abusers. Hope of Surviours almost literally saved our sanity and spiritual life ... to know that we were not alone, not making more out of the issue than was really warranted, and that this man has (he is still in denial) serious mental health issues and poses a real danger to our Community was just wonderful. I thank God for the organisers of Hope of Survivors.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was a victim of abuse at age 16, by her youth pastor. I too found this info helpful because of my own abuse history of people in power. My daughter has not looked at this site yet but I hope she will when the time is right. It covers loads of misconceptions, lies we believe, and validates our feelings of the wrong down by those who are suppose to protect. I appreciate the info and I looked at it often to encourage myself.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a victim of clergy sexual abuse about six years ago. For many years I blamed myself for everything that occurred. I ran across The Hope of Survivors through a counselor's recommendation. THOS has been an excellent source of information and comfort to me. Not only did THOS help me understand that the abuse was not my fault, but they have helped me heal from this situation through the love and support that everyone has shown. I have found that the people are extremely supportive and always willing to help me during my struggles. The website provides lots of great information about clergy sexual abuse and I have referred nearly my entire family to the website to help them understand what I have been through because my words would not be adequate enough for them. It is sad that THOS needs to exist, but there is such a need for them. I can only hope that they will continue to provide support and comfort to the hundreds of victims that are sure to come their way in the coming years.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

I discovered THOS many years ago while working through the aftermath of an abusive clergy. The directors were very helpful to both me and my husband. Since then, we have had the chance to attend one of their conferences and are still very grateful for the help they offer to us and to others.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sam and Steve's story was similar to our own clergy abuse path, and just that alone was of immeasurable comfort. However, they did much more than that. Sam's wise and timely counsel offered us reassurance during desert times, and tools and language to persevere for justice in our case. This is a serious issue everywhere and in many church denominations and affiliations. Having their expertise available to countless victims/survivors is a true God-send.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was so wounded when I first contacted Hope of Survivors. And many places, just talk. Hope was all action. They have never left me.

I am a Survivor. When I feel bad, I go to Hope.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Hope of Survivors saved my life! During a frantic internet search for help concering the pain I was suffering while being abused by my 'pastor' - I came across THOS website. After thoroughly reasearching the information offered, I came to understand and accept the fact that I was in an abusive situation. I reached out for help, and was immediately contacted by Steve and Samantha Nelson. They offered to me their sincere love, support, and understanding of the abusive situation I had been suffering with for years. Through counsel, and the information offered at THOS, I was able to recover mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually from the from the damage caused by pastoral abuse and am now helping others do the same. THOS plays a vital role in the recovery process of pastoral abuse victims!

Review from Guidestar

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my husband came across THOS on the internet, it was the starting point for my healing from clergy sexual misconduct. The counseling I received from THOS helped quiet the shaming voices that were telling me that it was all my fault. I was able to unburden myself in a safe environment, receive education on CSA/CSM, and have hope that tomorrow will be a better day. With the Lord's help, THOS saved my sanity - and my marriage.

Review from Guidestar

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Even though I knew in my heart that other woman where involved with my pastor, I didn't realize fully the extent and number of pastors that lead woman into illicit relationships. The Hope of Survivors web site information educated me. For whatever reason, I found it difficult to see the evilness in my pastor's attentions. I wanted to believe the best of him. The Hope of Survivors counsel via Samantha allowed me to see that what happened was Pastoral Sexual Misconduct. I'd thought of it as an emotional affair. Now I realize that not only did my pastor neglect to set professional boundaries, he also carefully and secretly crafted, at the church no less, opportunities to seduce me into a sexual relationship with him. His colleagues and wife covered for his sometimes blatant come-ons toward me.
When I complained to the conference officials my report did nothing. The pastor was believed and I was not, because I hadn't collected enough evidence to substantiate my complaint. THOS has provided support to me when no one else would. After dealing with the one pastor who manipulated me, I've met other church leaders that behave in a similar controlling manner. Most recently at a church school where I worked, I endured sexual harassment and discrimination. My only place to turn has been THOS. Anywhere else I was sure to be seen as unstable. Needless to say, my health has been negatively affected by these experiences. The on going ministry of THOS encourages me. I believe the Holy Spirit is using the ministry of THOS to not only help victims, but also to bring change in the church by their presence at General Conference meetings, television appearances, and their dedication to help and educate about this problem. A problem that has been in the church far to long.

Review from Guidestar

3

Client Served

Rating: 4

After it was exposed that my Pastor was in MANY abusive relationships and I was only ONE who suffered, Hope of Survivors was a rare gem that guided me, encouraged me, admitted with me, and informed me.
SO MANY expressed hopelessness..... "why would you tell this?" (to stop the abuse) and "what do you hope to accomplish?" (stop the abuse) "How could you HURT his reputation?" (to stop his sickness and stop his abuse) ... Thank you HOPE for Survivors for restoring HOPE!

Review from Guidestar

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am very thankful for the services that Hope for Survivors is providing. It has been encouraging to me in my personal abuse situation. Sexual abuse by clergy is a serious problem. Usually the victims are told to be quiet or something bad will be done to them. I personally have had that situation. Many religious organizations don't want to admit any of their clergy have a problem nor will they deal with it. Hope for Survivors has been and encouraging program to me for the last three years. Thank you so much.

This can be use for the campaign for money, but not my email address.

Review from Guidestar

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I will never forget the help Samantha and Steve gave me during my times of trouble with our church. They are a Godsend and I pray they will always be able to continue with their ministry. It is very important and I can't stress enough how much they were of service to me. I don't think I would have made it without their many calls. I was on the phone with them for days it seems and I was able to go on with my life after my experience with my pastor. They helped me to realize that he was not the "good person" I claimed him to be and that an experience with a pastor is not an affair but pastoral abuse. Please consider them for this grant.

Review from Guidestar