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!
This nonprofit has not only been a well of information to my experience with CPSA. Samantha has been faithful in helping me to fulfill Ph.D requirements for my dissertation topic. I look forward to being a blessing to them in a tangible way. Their services and information sources are invaluable. Thanks Hope of Survivors for all you do and for the many souls that are being blessed by and through your ministry.
The Hope of Survivors is what many consider a Dove ministry. Most recovery ministries will usually fall into three categories. First there is the Lion recovery group where the ministers trying to help actually end up roaring accusation at all who are involved. They swing wide the church doors to show the sin of the clergy or the weakness of the wounded to all who will listen. With their lion-like jaws and claws of so-called justice, they rip everyone and everything to shreds.
Second is the Ostrich ministry group, which works in the absence of the light of truth or even finding out the truth. They have only one objective; they try to keep everything quiet. The let’s don’t rock the boat crew. This group is the one that will do all to protect the offender but very little for the offended, not realizing that burying their heads in the sand will not cover up sin.
The third group is the Hope of Survivors. The Hope of Survivors is a Spirit led Dove Ministry, one willing to pour in the oil and the wine. They get the facts and make sure the facts are real. Then they confront all parties without ripping and tearing like a lion or trying to appease those in authority. For the sake of the survivor, they refuse to bury their heads in the sand like an ostrich and pretend it did not happen.
A survivor is someone who has endured with power. The Hope of Survivors is a Dove ministry that gives the mistreated and wounded that power from on high.
Pastor Hal Steenson
West Frankfort, IL.
I am a former board member, a pastor closely associated with the Nelsons, and a supporter of "Hope of Survivors." I have watched this ministry from its infancy and am so pleased to see it grow to an international resource for clergy and parishioners alike. Steve and Samantha have worked so hard, without any personal benefit other than restoring broken lives. Born out of their own pain and struggles this has become a truly healing ministry.
As a pastor for over 37 years I have seen more times than I want to recall the tragedy of clergy abuse. I have also known Steve and Samantha for several years and am well aware of the countless lives they have touched with this ministry. As they serve from experience they also serve with tremendous skill, sensitivity, and professionalism. Too many churches and organizations are reluctant to address this problem and as a result many lives have been severely damaged. Hope of /Survivors can not only help victims, but can also effectively help pastors and church administrators avoid the problem before it starts. THOS is a powerful tool across denominational lines.
Review from Guidestar
I work in mental health. I was not a victim of clergy abuse, but my dad abused me sexually. I am Samantha's mother and I am so very proud of the work she and Steve are doing. Please don't discount my review just because I'm related to Samantha and Steve. I truly believe they are doing great work!
I first became aware of THOS through their website and, soon after, they happened to run some workshops and training for Church pastors and leaders near where I live in Australia. As a social worker, investigator and educator who has worked in this field I must say I was impressed with the depth, balance, and practical approach of the training. It was clearly evident that the pastors and leaders from many denominational groups found the training by THOS most helpful indeed. I totally recommend their training programs and the approach taken by THOS.
Review from Guidestar
I have attended many conventions in which The Hope of Survivors have set their booth up, it is amazing how many hurting people out there who have experienced some type of private abuse issue in the past and have no one to share with. THOS turns nobody away. It is a powerful ministry.
Review from Guidestar