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40th Anniversary

Jun 28, 2017 — Categories:

FaithTrust Institute is celebrating our 40th Anniversary! And we'd like your help. As part of this milestone event, we're creating a Celebration Book and we would like to include your thoughts and memories.

FaithTrust Institute is celebrating our 40th Anniversary! And we'd like your help.

As part of this milestone event, we're creating a Celebration Book to be given to our founder, Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune. She doesn't know about this yet! If you would like to share a message with Marie or the Board and Staff, please add your comment below by October 1, 2017.

Tell us:

  • How has Marie Fortune's work impacted your life? or
  • How has FaithTrust Institute made a difference in your world? or
  • Do you have a special memory that you'd like to share with Marie? or
  • Is there something else you'd like to share with Marie?

Please let us know if your message can be shared publicly, and if we can use your name.

And please, take this opportunity to make a donation to FaithTrust Institute!

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Marie Fortune

Posted by Patty Carr at Aug 14, 2017 01:39 PM
Thank you for your leadership, your clarity and your thoughtfulness. Your incisive, eloquent writing and speaking are a model to and inspire us all. Thank you for always speaking up and standing your ground.
Patty Carr

So many thank yous

Posted by Sandi Thompson-Royer at Aug 14, 2017 01:39 PM

I can only say thank you for the way you have provided us all to look at ways people of faith respond to domestic and sexual violence. I can honestly say that the work of the FTI changed my life! In approximately 1998, I attended a training provided to the Presbyterians in Sante Fe, NM! That training landed me a position in the PCUSA to create a national network, leading the church to address their policies, education within the church, and the way they responded to both the survivor and perpetrator. I have been fortunate to work with incredible people that work tirelessly towards peace. I loved my years of training for the FTI and engaging in conversations with all sorts of people of faith around the US! I loved being a bridge having worked both in the secular and religious world, understanding the tension and dynamics that created. We are all God's people and in my faith, LOVE prevails! May you enjoy your years of retirement but what I do know, is that this work goes with you everywhere in this world! Now I am living and working in Guatemala and I was hoping to do other work! NOPE. God uses us and as you know well, we can't ignore Her! Blessings and thank you. I would not be where I am today, without your work and support!

celebrating 40 years!

Posted by Lisa Jean Hoefner at Sep 13, 2017 05:15 PM
Marie, from days at YDS to requests for help to celebrating this milestone year, your presence and knowledge and care has impacted the world! I add my little word to great acclamation well-deserved and so appropriate. You continue to be a gift to so many people.


Posted by Sister Elaine Shaw at Oct 09, 2017 01:57 PM
 I first met Rev. Marie Fortune at a presentation she gave in Boston; later I made two programs at Kirkridge Retreat Center. A memory I treasure is seeing an ordained woman celebrating liturgy,something still not allowed in my tradition! I have been impacted, both ministerially and personally by Marie's theology, spirituality, and her generous support. Faith Trust Institute continues to be my "go to" source for materials, updated information and inspiration.
 Congratulations, Emerita!
 Blessings of Peace always, Marie. To share, to publish.

Thank you

Posted by Leslee Kirkconnell at Oct 19, 2017 04:33 PM
I will be in Boston, but not arriving until during your celebration. Since learning about your work (way back when it was the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence) I have been glad to have your training to prevent Clergy Misconduct, both church and judicatory levels. Your witness and resourcing have enabled me to continue to train and raise awareness at congregational and presbytery levels. I especially enjoyed meeting and learning from you way back in Salt Lake City in '96 or '97 and again in Daytona for judicatory. Thank you and many blessings always!

Thank you and Congratulations

Posted by Bernita R Walker at Oct 20, 2017 05:48 PM
It gives me a great pleasure to congratulate you, Dr. Fortune and add these few words. I have been in the war against DV for 36 years. I fervently use the Pastoral Counseling tools as well as Broken Vows. My work in DV is my ministry and your work has provided much needed information and direction to reach the faith community as we fight against the attack on the family. Thank you.

Thank you

Posted by Rhonda Pitt at Oct 20, 2017 05:49 PM
When I discovered the work of Marie Fortune I had just told my counselor and later my husband about the sexual abuse I endured by my pastor 25 years earlier while in my thirteenth year of marriage. I never intended to tell anyone. Her work with other such victims helped me and my husband get through the most painful time of our married lives. And she gave us the courage to legally confront the pastor as well as the church leaders who attempted to withhold the financial help for counseling offered by the church once they knew of his abuse. After a long legal battle we accepted a settlement from both the pastor and the church as well as apologies from both. I shared some of her work with most of the small congregation where that pastor had been a serial sexual abuser for the entire 40 plus years of that church's existence before it closed its doors. In part because of Marie Fortune's work, my husband and I were able to donate the settlement from the church to begin the first of its kind fund for the counseling of victims of clergy sexual abuse offered by a Baptist faith group in Missouri. Thank you Marie Fortune for your spirit, your hard work, and your wise counsel for hurting people.


Posted by John Heagle at Oct 23, 2017 01:54 PM
I want to thank you for your courageous, prophetic leadership over these many decades. You have called each of us to a deeper awareness of systemic sexual violence and to the vital work of interpersonal justice-making. You have summoned us to confront our religious institutions and leaders with the need for a radical shift in consciousness. And beyond that emerging awareness, you have challenged us to respond more transparently and justly to the ongoing crises of sexual abuse and domestic violence in our communities. I am deeply grateful for all that I have learned from you.

Thank You

Posted by Becky Posey Williams at Oct 23, 2017 02:36 PM
Marie, thank you so much for your courage to follow your heart and begin this work 40+ years ago! You are gift to God's world. You broke ground and willingly shared your experiences and wisdom resulting in sexual misconduct within the life of the church being named. We are a better world because you did this. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to be a student of yours!

With gratitude for your work

Posted by Ruth Krall at Oct 23, 2017 08:47 PM
While we have never met in person, I have known about your work inside my denomination as well as your broader scope of work. My gratitude to you is deep and on this event I wish you God's richest blessings - knowing that you have made a difference for many individuals.


Ruth Krall

With Gratitude

Posted by Annie Langseth at Oct 24, 2017 05:15 PM
Dr. Fortune:

I'm so grateful for your faithful work in leading the church and people of faith on a path toward ending sexual and domestic violence. Not only have you worked tirelessly, but you and the FaithTrust Institute have also equipped people to work alongside of you so that we can respond together.

It was a delight to have you join us at Luther Seminary during our Sexual Violence Awareness Week in April of 2015. I so enjoyed your powerful speech and simply getting to know you a little bit.

May FaithTrust continue in the important service of sharing in God's transformative healing and wholeness.

God's peace,
Annie Langseth
Luther Seminary M.Div. Student

(please feel free to share publicly and use my name)


Posted by Deborah A Appler at Oct 31, 2017 04:41 PM
I am so grateful for your work on sexual abuse and domestic violence. As a childhood survivor of sexual abuse (decades ago), I had hoped to find comfort and healing in the church. Instead, I found silence until you dared to speak a courageous and empowering word and to create resources that helped give me a voice and the hope of healing. The work of the FaithTrust Institute continues to offer the tools and theological grounding that I need to advocate for those impacted by abuse. I use many of these resources as I walk students through biblical texts, especially those that address violence within families and faith communities. May the institute continue to be a beacon of hope and healing for centuries to come.

Deborah Appler
Moravian Theological Seminary

All the best!

Posted by Debby Tucker at Nov 02, 2017 01:20 PM
Congrats on your retirement celebration! How I wish transporters had already been invented and I could just beam over and hug your neck along with the many who will gather in your honor. I hope you'll be in touch when you can. Best, Debby

Marie's Retirement

Posted by Anne Marie Hunter at Nov 03, 2017 02:23 PM
There is so much to say about Marie and her visionary leadership that many of us could fill a book. It has been a long and fruitful history, and a journey for which I am deeply grateful on many levels. I credit Marie with single-handedly breaking the silence of faith communities everywhere when it comes to abuse. The energy, passion, and strength that that took is remarkable. Marie’s work has been a gift to us all. Her vision has proliferated around the U.S. and around the world. To borrow a term from scriptural studies, Marie is Q, “quelle,” the source.

My earliest direct memory of Marie (in addition to reading all her books) comes from an address she presented in 1985. I was a seminary student at Harvard Divinity School at the time. She was passionate and engaging. At the time I had the opportunity to pursue a doctorate at Drew University, and was debating whether to take that opportunity to study more deeply the intersection of faith, abuse, and women’s lives. I deliberately asked for Marie’s advice. Her response was quick and sure: “Go for it!” She asserted that we needed more people in the field who can both lead and teach. I am sure I am not the only person who has been inspired by Marie to stretch beyond their comfort zone. She has empowered people of faith everywhere to stand with survivors of abuse.

A second memory is of a clergy training session on ethical professional boundaries. Marie’s message was clear and unmistakable. I returned to my pulpit with a renewed sense of the importance of self-reflection, accountability, and caution as I built relationships with my congregants and others in the community.

I also attended a clergy training session on domestic violence, and I remember sitting with colleagues in small groups, wrestling with difficult texts, and learning to see texts through the eyes of those who are victims of domestic abuse. Marie always said, “faith can be either a resource or a roadblock,” and we learned in that session how to reclaim roadblocks and make them resources. Like Marie, I became angry that my scriptures, faith, and traditions have at times been manipulated to support abuse. That anger, and the love for my faith community from which it grows, has fueled much of my work.

Marie also attended an Elder Abuse and Faith Summit that Safe Havens hosted in Chicago in 2014. Her wisdom and honesty were critically important as we thought about how domestic and sexual violence advocates, Adult Protective Services, medical and law enforcement personnel, faith leaders, and allied professionals can work together to keep older adults safer. It was groundbreaking work that continues today.

I could go on and on, but I’ll end with one of my sweetest memories of Marie. I was hit by a car in 2007. The injuries were serious; I underwent two surgeries and spent many days in the hospital. I really don’t remember much about this time besides pain and more pain, and being completely debilitated. The only bright spot was that Marie paid me a pastoral visit. I have no idea why she was in Boston, or how she got to my house, or how she even knew how to find me, but she miraculously appeared, wearing the signature ball cap, to cheer me up and give me hope that the future would not be as bleak as that moment. I will never forget what a joy it was to see her, and how concerned and caring she was. I will always cherish that visit, which bears witness to Marie’s character and compassion.

If you are fortunate enough to be visited by Marie, to have known Marie, to have learned from Marie, you are fortunate enough! Indeed, all of us who have heard her speak, read her fabulous and earth-shaking books, or benefited from her trainings and community engagement can count ourselves amongst the fortunate!