A place of protection and healing for victims of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct has recently been established in Bedford, Iowa. Samantha Nelson, vice president and CEO of The Hope of Survivors (THOS), a nonprofit organization providing support for victims and educational materials for pastors and churches worldwide, said that the home was gifted to THOS late last year by an anonymous donor.
“After years of praying for a place of respite for victims, we see this home as an answer to those prayers,” Nelson said.
At one time the property functioned as an inn. A previous owner, Cindy Cox, said, “We prayed that the home would be a sanctuary for people needing a peaceful, comfortable place to stay and that God would bring those needing respite. So I feel as though the property was being prepared, if you will, for The Hope of Survivors.”
Before the Renewal Center could be opened, modifications were necessary. Volunteers from Maranatha International, a service-focused nonprofit organization, added bathrooms and customized existing spaces to meet the needs of clients.
“We look forward to putting the programs together for victims who come to renew and heal from the devastating abuse they’ve endured,” said Nelson. “We feel very blessed that God has answered this prayer in such a remarkable way.”
Samantha and her husband Steve Nelson, pastor of the Council Bluffs, Iowa district, founded the ministry in 2002. The Renewal Center currently also serves as THOS’s headquarters.
Author Michelle Hansen is communication director for the Iowa-Missouri Conference.