Recently Channel 9 did a report on clergy abuse that took place in Leadville many years ago. As one concerned with the welfare of the spiritual culture in our community, I make this response:

A man in a trusted position for the spiritual nurture and care of children abused that position and wreaked havoc on the lives of some of the innocents in this community. In the news report, I watched a broken man acknowledge wrongdoings of the past.

I wish we could say this was simply an isolated incident, but we know from other reports that this sign of our human base nature has been expressed in many times and places. It is a brokenness having to be addressed in multiple parts of the religious community.

We will never know the extent to which this man’s actions affected our community. Shame, confusion, broken trust, self-accusation, secrecy and a pervading darkness found a hold. Some of the innocents may have found a way to deal with the darkness that they were forced into; others have grown into adulthood carrying darkness inside with seemingly no way of escape. The weight of the past can affect one’s understanding of history, the present and the future.

I would humbly submit that there is a way out of the darkness. Taking the vulnerable step of bringing the past into the light with a trusted counselor, friend or small group can bring light into the dark places. Other abusive situations can also be addressed in this manner. The pain of the past does not have to be the end of the story. This is serious; as a consequence of bad actions forced upon them some have experienced immense mental and spiritual difficulties. In the extreme case where there seems to be no hope, some have ultimately attempted to take their own lives.

As a member of the Christian community here in Leadville, I am confident that God who sees all can mend the broken-hearted and set the captive free.

Dave Horning

Member of Cornerstone Church Leadville

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