Listening with Love

'Listening with Love' is a resource inviting people to reflect on the impact of abuse on individuals and the Church. Although we're releasing this material for Lent 2021, it can be used at any time.

The Let’s be Honest group was approached by the Bishops’ Conference to provide some materials for Lent 2021.

From the beginning, it was recognised that the opportunity to invite people to reflect on the impact of abuse on individuals, and the Church, should not be limited to a particular time and that the resource could be for use at any time.

After an initial discussion about looking at scripture and how it might be reflected upon as well as how to link the sessions the members of Let’s be Honest asked survivors to prepare the resource

The survivors identified the themes and decided that, in conversations, the voice of the survivor could be heard. Therefore, using scripture and recorded conversations each session reflects upon the impact of abuse.

Participants are invited to listen and reflect.

At the end of the seven sessions there is an opportunity to reflect on what has been heard and what it means for the local Church.

Ways of Using this Material

Listening with Love is a seven session resource. The material is designed for use in small groups, with a leader and participants.

At the time of writing, January 2021, we recognise that the familiar format of small groups meeting together in one place may not be possible. Many have discovered that video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, have made coming together possible.

There are a number of ways of using the material, depending on a community’s circumstances or resources – each model allowing for social distancing.

The material is available in two formats:

  • A PDF document for participants with separate audio clips for the conversation
  • A PowerPoint presentation (with embedded audio).

The two may be used separately or together.

About Let’s Be Honest

From its beginnings within the Bishops’ Conference Marriage and Family Life Office, the Let’s Be Honest group has been inspired by the breadth of wisdom and expertise gleaned over many years by victims/survivors themselves, and those who have accompanied them, with a concern for integrating their Christian faith and spirituality with emotional and psychological recovery.

The principles governing the work of the group emerged through conversations in 2018 and early 2019. It resolved that the pastoral support of victims and survivors in a faith-based context, together with the safeguarding structures, must be rooted in a deeper understanding of the imperatives of the gospel and Church teaching, to put the victim first, and care for those who are hurting in any way. Everything the group does is founded on who we are as ‘Church’ – the Body of Christ. When one suffers, the whole body suffers.

Session ONE - Listening with Love

Session One asks the question “Will anyone Listen?” and takes as its inspiration Matthew 25:37-40.

Session TWO - Listening with Love

Session Two looks at the theme of abandonment and takes as its inspiration Mark 14:66-72.

Session THREE – Listening with Love

Session Three looks at the theme of being alone and takes as its inspiration Matthew 19:13-15.

Session FOUR – Listening with Love

Session Four looks at the word 'broken' and what it means. Inspiration for this session comes from Isaiah 61:1.

Session FIVE – Listening with Love

Session Five looks at the theme of forgiveness and takes its inspiration from John 8:3-11.

Session SIX – Listening with Love

Session Six looks at the promise of hope and takes its inspiration from Ezekiel 34:11–16, 28.

Session SEVEN – Listening with Love

Session Seven looks at undertaking the journey together and takes its inspiration from two passages from St Luke's Gospel - Luke 24:13-17, 28-32.