The Seeds of Hope is special column of The Healing Voices that features stories about what healing and reconciliation from clergy abuse of children looks like in our Church. With God’s grace, heartfelt healing is not only possible, it is happening each and every day.
The Sacred Space, Clare Valley, Australia
The Sacred Space garden and its chapel provide a model of how “prayed-in places,” holy spaces, bring consolation, peace, and healing to victims of abuse by clergy as well as by others. It is one image of what healing from clergy abuse in our Church can look like.
The Sacred Space garden and its chapel, which was reclaimed from disrepair, were developed by a former military chaplain, Joe Johns, in Clare Valley (Australia) in partnerships and friendship with Bishop John Stead from South Australia. One of the important images of a healing Church is the cultivation of friendships, as well as gardens and other healing spaces.
Joe Johns didn’t need to forage forward without help. He relied on ideas and input from others, including Chicago-based Mike Hoffman, who is the co-founder of The Healing Voices and Spirit Fire board member.
Mike was able to draw on his work with a committee including survivors, clergy and others, to plant a Healing Garden, in the middle of downtown Chicago where annual healing services and pinwheel plantings occur. (There is another healing space in Bellevue, Ohio, a labyrinth The Healing Voices featured some time ago.)
For more detail about the development of the space and views about its importance, click to Luke Radford’s article in ABC North and West in Australia.