Church won't heal overnight, but support is essential - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Church won't heal overnight, but support is essential

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A pastor from a Madison church offers words of wisdom and support to the parishioners of Highland Park Baptist. A pastor from a Madison church offers words of wisdom and support to the parishioners of Highland Park Baptist.

How does a church cope with the revelation of sexual abuse within its walls? We hear about it far too often. A local pastor, unaffiliated with Highland Park Baptist's current crisis, discussed the difficult road ahead for parishioners, including possible crises of faith.

Brian Mayfield is Pastor of The Brook in Madison. He said an incident such as this can disrupt the lives of everyone in the church body and the community. He said it is important to pull together and offer support to those in need.

Mayfield said having faith is more important now more than ever. But if you are someone in doubt and this type of situation pushes you further away from the church, he offers the following advice.

"They don't represent the mass. I believe that what you have in most churches is a body of people who really want to overcome evil; not just want to overcome evil in the world but sin in their own lives," Mayfield said.

Mayfield does not just offer this advice from behind the pulpit – he said he has been through a similar personal experience many years ago at another church.

He said the experience can tear a church apart, but it can also bring you together and make you stronger. ‘Together' is the main word there. He said it is important that Highland Park parishioners lean on one another for support. He understands the shock and anger they likely feel and said the church won't heal overnight.

"You're left to work through the spiritual, and at the same time you are having to work through the legal [and] the social. The ripple effects of someone who has been considered not just a trustworthy adult but a pastor and a shepherd… that they would abuse that is very difficult to balance," Mayfield said.

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