Prayer for Repentance
(Composed by the Reverends Alice Courtright, Valerie Minton Webster ’76, and Richard W. Belshaw ’75)
All-knowing, all-loving God, who is just and good, we know that no amount of prayer can alter the past and the evil that has been done against the innocent and vulnerable who have been abused. We come before you today in grief for the violence that has occurred in this School. We lament the life-lasting wounds that were inflicted upon our young people in years past. Help us to condemn the abuses of power that took place by adults and older students and to stand together united against sexual harassment, abuse, and assault then, now, and in the future.
We thank you for the courage of the survivors who speak up and continue to come forward. We honor their witness. We pray for the continued healing of all; assist us to restore and repair what was stolen and broken. In what is shattered, give us strength to help pick up the pieces and collaborate in making the parts whole.
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it:” keep this wonderful image alive in our hearts, our souls, our bodies, our minds...keep the divine lantern lit. The light enables us to live in courage and hope: to hear, to soothe, to be present for survivors, to encourage and never blame them, to identify the spark of light within each of them. Help us to embody as a community this integrity, this presence, this purpose in all that we do.
We pray for this school. We pray that when individuals selfishly harm those in their charge, the School will always pursue justice for, and vindication with, the survivor who is our sister, our brother. Help our passion for this place transform our shame and disgust and empower the cultivation of a culture of honesty, transparency, and trust. Give us strength today and in the days to come to make these values clearly understood and vigorously defended in practice. Remind us that we cannot ever claim victory, that our work is forever on-going, our continued vigilance essential, our community health dependent on our care for those we teach, mentor, and inspire.
We ask that our grieving be blessed, for within our sorrows emerge our deepest yearnings for transformation. May your guidance in truth and light always accompany us. May we always be perceptive to the needs of those who suffer, to hold those who are wounded with compassion. Teach and inspire us to serve as a model and advocate for justice and goodness to other schools, communities, and our country. Help us with all the saints and survivors to shine light for others to the glory of your name. Amen.
The School recently announced a new set of initiatives to support survivors of sexual abuse in the community. More information can be found at: www.sps.edu/survivorsupport.