In today’s society, Christians are constantly being bombarded with the issue of sexual abuse. You can’t turn on the news or open a newspaper without hearing about it. Unfortunately, abuse can happen in places where we feel safe and trust those around us, including the church.
This year, the annual seminary conference, titled “Sexual Abuse and the Church,” will address the issue of sexual abuse and how the church should handle it. The conference, which will be held Tuesday through Thursday, is open to all students, faculty and staff members, pastors and their wives and any other interested parties.
Why is the seminary hosting a sexual abuse conference? “[The goal is] to raise students’ awareness, give them instruction from qualified people and inform them about policies they need to have in place,” said Dr. Jim Berg, member of the seminary faculty and coordinator of the annual seminary conferences.
Sexual abuse is a topic that is in the public consciousness because it happens everywhere. “Offering this seminar is a way to show the broader evangelical world that Bob Jones Seminary is here, and these are the things we help our students with,” Dr. Berg said.
Some of the topics that will be addressed during the conference include “Understanding the World of an Abused Child,” “Partnering with CPS and Law Enforcement,” “Establishing Church Policies” and “Counseling the Abused.”
Speakers include Dr. Ken Casillas of the BJU Bible faculty; Rev. Bob Crawford, an investigator for Chace Campbell Law Firm; Daniel Hicks, a licensed attorney who works with tax-exempt organizations and church law; Ty Bracken Miller, the sergeant over the School Enforcement Division in Greenville County; Debi Pryde, a biblical counselor and speaker; Dr. Dave Shumate, the general director of Mission Gospel Ministries International; and Pamela Snyder, a communications and political consultant.
Dr. Berg invited all of the speakers based on their expertise in their respective fields and their heart for the church.
Two of the major sessions will be presented in chapel. Each focuses on the believer’s response to trauma. “The purpose of having the speakers in chapel is to allow the university family to be a part of the conference and get a little flavor of what the conference is about,” Dr. Berg said.
The other sessions will be held in War Memorial Chapel Tuesday morning, all day Wednesday and Thursday morning. Dr. Berg invites students to look at their schedules, decide which topic interests them most and make an effort to attend.
There is no cost to students, faculty and staff members who attend, but there is a fee for non-university attendees. For more information on speakers, topics being addressed and specific times, please visit www.bju.edu/seminaryconference.