Mac is in jail, awaiting sentencing for sexually abusing young girls. Not enough time has passed for the congregation at Calvary Fellowship World Ministries to process Mac’s misdeeds. Behind the pulpit for the first time as a regular preacher, Grace, never one to shy away from a challenge, begins her sermon by addressing the elephant in the room.

“I need to talk about something,” Grace says. “As many of you know, a family member of ours is currently in jail, awaiting sentencing for a number of sexual crimes against young women. I hate talking about this in church, but it’s real. Oh, it’s real. And even after he’s sentenced and sent to jail, the fallout from his actions and from my family’s reactions, including mine, will continue to haunt us for a long time.”

As Lady Mae and the bishop look on soberly, Grace continues: “And it should, and there will be a time to talk about all of it, and there should be. But right now, this morning, I’d like to take a moment of silence for all the women that he did abuse: the ones who are here, the ones who came forward, the ones who haven’t, the ones who are living, and the ones who, like my sister Faith, have passed on. A moment of silence for anyone here who is dealing with similar abuse, and a moment of silence for anyone who knows that something awful is happening to somebody close to them and they’re not saying anything. There’s nothing I or anyone else can say that can explain it adequately, honor it adequately, grieve it adequately.”

Grace pauses as her eyes begin to well up. “Oh, but God. But God,” she says as the congregation vocalizes its approval. “God is here. Could you look at me right now? Even in the silence, God is here. So, let’s take our moment of silence this morning, and when we’re done, let us promise ourselves and all the abused around us, all those victims, that we will never be silent again.”

The congregation lets out a loud, defiant amen.

“The silence ends today.”