In response to the launch of an organisation called Churchgoer Support which has been set up to provide a forum for victims of mistreatment by the Church – be that physical or psychological – and to expose attempts by the Church to cover its tracks, the organisation’s website has been inundated with visitors.
The new website aimed at helping people who have suffered at the hands of their church or minister, which was launched last month by Patricia Davies, herself caused much distress and mental anguish by the actions of a woman priest, is proving extremely popular with many visitors during its first weeks.
The site www.churchgoersupport.co.uk provides a forum for anyone who has been mistreated in any way by the person to whom many people turn for help and comfort – their local priest/pastor/minister/etc – and it is alleged that the Methodist Church has attempted to close it down.
“While I am pleased that many people have been able to visit the site and gained some comfort in knowing they are not alone in facing such situations, it is sad that In this Christian country, in the 21st century, there are still so many people suffering at the hands of the Church,” says Patricia Davies.
The website initially details Mrs Davies’s own experiences of attempting to effect a reconciliation with her Methodist Minister, even though it was the woman priest’s actions when Mrs Davies fell prey to depression that pushed her over the edge into deep mental distress.
The matter has been exacerbated by the Methodist Church authorities threatening to bring defamation, harassment and libel charges against Mrs Davies who, since having her formal complaint against the minister rejected on disputed evidence, has sought to publicise her plight.
Despite everything, Mrs Davies is still seeking reconciliation, but both the minister concerned and the Church continue refusing to consider her pleas, and have instead threatened to have Mrs Davies arrested if she does not drop the matter.
“Whether we can assist in preventing these despicable occurrences ever happening to anyone else in the future is unlikely,” says Mrs Davies, “but at least by creating this forum and encouraging people to speak out, we can cut through the attempts by the Church to cover up its misdeeds and let its victims know that they are not alone in suffering the wrath of local ministers.”
The Churchgoer Support movement can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to Help Project, PO Box 1026, Great Wakering, Southend on Sea SS3 OWX, or by visiting the website: www.churchgoersupport.co.uk