We need to focus on restoration and healing

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to the downfall of Pastor Ryan at Lakeside Christian Church.

My name is Chaplain Gerard Dols with Midwest Chaplains. Currently, I am working at the Capital Prayer Network during session, and the Minneapolis Salvation Army. I had the honor of living in Cambridge from 2002 thru 2004. At that time,  I was attending Church at River of Life with senior Pastor Tom Porta.

Thirty three years ago I made the decision to leave the homosexual lifestyle. It was not an easy road for me, but it was the best decision I made for it brought reconciliation between my dad and myself. This reconciliation brought healing and closure to the both of us. This past weekend, I returned to Cambridge for a visit and was disturbed to hear of Pastor Ryan’s downfall.  I grieved for his family and the community. What amazed me was how people were shocked and hurt by this. I myself wanted to restore the community, his family, and ultimately Pastor Ryan. We all ultimately have to take responsibility for our actions and ask for forgiveness when wronged. We as Christians need to extend forgiveness to the ones who have hurt us. By doing this, we can walk in freedom.

There are many people who have left the homosexual lifestyle like myself who do not use their position to influence others. We all need to adhere to boundaries so as to protect others and ourselves from accusations. When someone in authority requests you to keep a secret that even he knows is wrong, you must speak up and report it to the legal authorities. That is the right action to take. If you have been abused  there is no shame or guilt to tell legal authorities. We must tell so that we can break the cycle of sexual abuse. If you are one that has been abused, please tell so that it does not happen to others. My heart for the Cambridge community is restoration  and healing.

Chaplain Gerard Dols