walking wounded: hope for those hurt by church

the walking wounded jpeg
have you…

  • been asked to leave a church or told you’re not a “good fit”?
  • felt forced to conform or remain consistently overlooked?
  • been told that you are loved but not your sin?
  • questioned leadership or theology and found yourself on the outside?
  • felt sad, angry, afraid, lost, or disoriented after painful church experiences?

i’m guessing some of you might have answered yes to one (or all!) of these questions!  if you haven’t, you probably know someone who has.  unfortunately, there’s a lot of church carnage out there.  dear people who with good hearts who somehow ended up in the ranks of what we call “the walking wounded.”  for all kinds of reasons, many have found themselves on the outs of the church and are wandering, disillusioned, disoriented, wondering “how in the $*!&$^!& did i end up here?”.   i know the feeling.  and how important it is to have other people to be able to share with so we feel less alone, less crazy, and can find some hope.

one thing that feels clear to me is that there aren’t very many great places for these kinds of conversations.  the churches or systems that hurt us usually hum right along and keep on moving while people are laying on the side of the road.  there’s no question that covert conversations at coffee shops, late night crying sessions with faithful safe friends, and online dialogue definitely help.  but what seems to be missing, we think, is a really safe, intentional container for healing, hope, laughter & community.

on friday evening, october 21st & all day saturday october 22nd, we are hosting a space for this conversation called walking wounded: hope for those hurt by church.  it’s a weekend gathering of fellow wanderers, sinners, rebels, and church refugees who are trying to find their way in the wilderness and long for a safe space for conversation, laughter, hope, and sanity.

you can check out all of the details on the site, but if you have any specific questions, etc.  feel free to email me.  because of limited space, we do need everyone to register online & the registration deadline is october 1st.   if you need help with accommodations in denver, there’s a place on the registration form to let us know & we can work on some possibilities for you.

please consider coming (if you are in this spot in your life right now) or  pass it on to others who might need some hope.  there’s a small team of us pulling together all of the details & i do feel confident about this–it will be safe, it will be fun, it will be healing.

read the FAQ’s.  there’s no catch.  no big agenda. no money being made.   our only hope is that the people who need to be there come & leave feeling less alone, less crazy, and more hopeful that the wild and scary path they are on can lead to freedom.

i’m really looking forward to it (and of course a little sad that there’s a need for such a thing!)




Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.


  • I feel like a sycophant, a flatter. But I can’t help myself. This is a great idea. And the timing? Well, if I had the opportunity and the time I would be at your doorstep. I am wounded. I am walking. But I am ready to lay down. Or not. I have a bit of a fight still in me because of Jesus’ work in me.

    • oh i wish you could come hang out with us! but i am so glad that you are not laying down. you have too much beauty and hope and love to bring regardless of all the ways people try limit it. i do want to figure out a way to share our experience somehow; not sure how that might look but i’ll keep you in the loop any way i can. lots of love from colorado.

  • This is such a great idea Kathy! I wish it were in San Diego. Most of the people I know who’ve been wounded by the church, however, would probably be suspicious of anything that included the word church.

    Will there be video or audio of the event for those who can’t be there? That would be so great! I’d be willing to pay for a copy.

    Possibly some of us from afar could share a written paragraph or two sharing our experiences, including if we’re still wandering or have come out of the wilderness somewhere? Is there a place for that?

    • thanks my friend, yeah, in talking to some friends that is what feels clear–anything that even has the word in it is too much for some. i do not know what we’ll do in terms of capturing. i do know no video to honor and protect but not sure about ways to capture some of the content. we are low-techers but i also see the value. i really like your “letter” idea and want to process through a way to maybe include some of those…i’ll let you know!

  • I love you for doing this … don’t know if I will travel to attend, but my heart will be there with all the other walking wounded. Just reading through the FAQ’s on the site made my day … it’s hard to invite people to trust when they have been so abused by people “in the name of God.” It’s complicated. I identify myself as one of the walking wounded, and identify myself as one of Christ’s own.

    • thank you, mar, and know you are so welcome. and yes, creating a safe space is not an easy task and we are praying for a container that can hold it. we know we have a God who can. let us be people who can, too.


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