Northwestern Minnesota Synod helping survivors of sexual abuse speak out
In a nationwide competition with over 50 entries, a glass artist and architect was chosen to help survivors create a permanent glass art piece in front of the synod.
MOORHEAD — Sexual abuse survivors met for two years to heal from their past.
As this was their second dedicated piece, survivors picked Michele Gutlove as the artist to help create a symbolic piece to represent the process.
In hospitals, libraries, city halls and universities, she has completed about 44 public art installations and currently in the process of making six others.
She worked with the survivors to come up with the theme of the work.
The art piece is involved with shattering 18 different pieces of glass to resemble a person who was abused and then it was all melted back together to show healing.
Ripples were added on top to encourage others to tell their story too.
Synod bishop Reverend William "Bill" Tesch said replicas of this piece will be used in congregations, synod offices, and other ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
"We know that the church in the past hasn't always responded positively to people who've come forward with allegations of sexual assault or abuse and that we want to do better as a church," Tesch said.
Tesch said this piece voices the pain and the hope of sexual abuse survivors.
"It was really important to us that the survivor's voice be the voice that is clearly heard; that it (would) be their vision and their aspirations," Tesch said.
The art piece is now permanently installed in front of Northwestern Minnesota Synod.