“A professionally trained chaplain can be a critical element of any sexual abuse and exploitation care team. They are called, trained, and ready to serve.”


– Trish Propson

How Can Chaplains Help?

A trained chaplain can provide a critical link to hope and healing for victims and others impacted by sexual abuse and exploitation within Christian communities. Licensed Chaplains provide objective, professional, and confidential services of listening, support, and a ministry of presence for people in need. They provide practical community support and spiritual counsel to individuals in crisis, crisis responders, and the community at large by meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Chaplains can work with local churches, schools, government agencies, law enforcement, first responders, businesses, and community organizations.

Professional chaplains can partner with the church and other Christian communities to provide counsel, education, advocacy, life improvement skills, and recovery training. They provide a natural bridge between secular and sacred environments and can be used by God to meet needs in critical situations both inside and outside the church. Chaplains are trained to mobilize quickly into crisis situations. Their extensive training in crisis response, critical incident stress management, the roles of government and community agencies, and how to interact with secular agencies make them perfect collaborative partners for those responding to sexual abuse and exploitation situations.

Chaplains can be a huge asset to any Christian community, especially in the area of sexual abuse and exploitation. They build bridges and maintain healthy and reciprocal relationships between divided secular and religious sectors in ways Pastors and churches often can’t.

Chaplaincy is sanctioned by the United States government with the full provision by law to provide crisis care to citizens regardless of race, creed, or religious affiliation.

  • To support and serve people in crisis with spiritual, emotional, mental, and practical services.
  • To support and serve through training, counseling, advocacy, victim crisis response, and a ministry of presence.
  • To support and serve churches, law enforcement, government agencies, community resource agencies, businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations to fill gaps in available services.
  • To stand ready to be mobilized quickly and efficiently in a crisis.
What is the Lemon Test?

Chaplains are the perfect ally for any Christian community because chaplains are protected by law and can serve in secular environments where Pastors and church leaders are often not welcome. Chaplaincy operates differently than clergy because they are uniquely protected under the Lemon vs. Kurtzman ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. It is considered a necessary function of government to care for the holistic mind, body, and spirit of its citizenry. Chaplaincy is not a role that forms religion; therefore, it is protected under this law. The Lemon test was formulated by Chief Justice Warren Burger. The court in Lemon v. Kurtzman ruled three requirements for government concerning religion, they are:


1. The government’s action must have a secular legislative purpose. (Such as a Chaplain providing crisis response or humanitarian aid for mind, body, and spirit during times of crisis.)


2. The government’s action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion. (Such as a Chaplain providing aid to people of all faith backgrounds and refusing to solicit members for a specific religion or faith organization.)


3. The government’s action must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion. (Such as a Chaplain providing temporary crisis response services to people in need of humanitarian aid for mind, body, and spirit outside the confines of a church or faith organization.)



Did you know that there were full time paid Chaplains appointed to the very first Continental Congress in 1737? Chaplains have faithfully served the federal government, all branches of the military, and both houses of congress for over 280 years.

“A chaplain’s greatest gift to the hurting people they serve is to be present, listen, and gently guide them towards hope and healing.” 

– Trish Propson

“I have a small church. I had no one else to call. I am not equipped to handle this. I have very little training in crisis response and sexual assault is something I’ve never faced. I am grateful a chaplain could come in and help us navigate this sexual abuse crisis.”

– Senior Pastor

“The greatest gift you can give is your time. People need your presence. The way you can help a soul the most is to simply be there.”

– Richelle Goodrich

“Every time we turned around you were just there. We barely talked to you but just knowing you were there if we needed you mattered more than you know.” 

– Parents of sexual assault/suicide victim

“You were the only one that could get through the crime scene barriers to reach us. Thank you for being on-hand during our darkest hour.”

– Sexual abuse victim

To discuss how chaplaincy might benefit your Christian community, connect with Trish at: trish@illuminatetheissue.org

Let's connect: 920-419-0012


By appointment:
Lynchburg, VA 24501

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