Home of Wheaton Bible Church's Quarterly Magazine
By Ashley and Andrew Schmutzer
Many would agree that Wheaton Bible Church is a special place. They are right, and they can name key reasons. But we’d like to add another one. When support groups for female and males survivors of sexual abuse were brought “online” last year, WBC became downright unique! Can you name another church that has support groups for both male and female survivors? Frankly, we hope you can. At WBC these support groups are called “CHAI,” which stands for Courageous Healing of Abuse and Isolation.
On Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 9:00, men and women gather from various area churches and suburbs, some as far away as Lake Zurich. We’ve even had people come from other Chicago suburbs to check out the CHAI ministry at WBC so they can return and start support groups for the abused in their own churches.
It is a privilege to walk through the healing journey with survivors. I (Andrew) wish I could tell you some of the exciting breakthroughs Ashley and I have witnessed, but the survivors know that the stories they have shared are now “holy ground.”
What survivors need is safety, respect, and their own timetables in order to heal. In CHAI, survivors find a community that helps them to face their own stories.
The scandal at Penn State, in the news for months now, highlights the reality that there are male, as well as female, victims of sexual abuse. But sadly, male survivors are even less likely to talk about such pain. So if you are a male survivor or know one, be assured that CHAI is a safe place for all survivors of sexual abuse.
CHAI groups for men and for women meet on Thursday evenings at 7:30. For more information, contact Support Group Coordinator Bill Brown, 630.876.6686, or send an email to CHAI@wheatonbible.org. You may also visit our website, wheatonbible.org, and click on the “Need Help?” link.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Ashley and Andrew Schmutzer, the leaders of the CHAI support groups, have attended Wheaton Bible Church since 2007. Andrew is a professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute and is the editor of The Long Journey Home: Understanding and Ministering to the Sexually Abused, a resource to help Christian leaders and others learn more about abuse. Ashley is a Licensed Professional Counselor.