MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Madison church hopes to draw sex offenders to a special adults-only service, according to a report in the Wisconsin State Journal.

The First Congregational United Church of Christ is trying the service every other Thursday night through May. Rev. Jerry Hancock says the idea for the service came from a call he got from a probation officer who wanted to know if there were any worship services that didn’t include children.

Hancock says the services might also appeal to someone who wants an unusually quiet worship experience, but they are designed especially for convicted sex offenders who cannot be where children are present.

Parishioner Susan Heneman tells the State Journal her church truly wants to be a place where everyone is welcome.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (72)
  1. Marine 0311 says:

    Oh boy, I can’t wait to read these comments.

    1. Openwater says:

      LOL! Really.

    2. Mr. Gregory Looseanus says:

      My britches are soiled.

    3. Mr. Gregory Looseanus says:

      God can’t dive as good as I can.

  2. Jake says:

    Kudos to this church. If being Christian means acting as Christ would, the church is doing the right thing. It would be sad to think people who consider themselves Christian would object to reaching out to outcasts in a loving way without unnecessary risk to others. What a great story and a great idea. I hope others follow. (P.S. I do not excuse the abhorrent behavior of the offenders. I applaud the willingness of a Church to practice what it espouses despite risk of criticism.)

    1. Katie says:

      Very well said, Jake! I stand with you in applauding this church for reaching out with a solution to help its “undesirable” parishioners – and in doing so, minimize the risk of harm to others.

      1. Niki says:

        I dont like old people, will they make a special service for me that excludes the elderly? Oh, maybe we should have one for murderers too! You know, just so they feel comfortable.

      2. Niki says:

        It’s making me upset that I’m not allowed to make any comment that goes again the loving Christian view. Sex offenders need not be catered too, I’m Christian but I do not believe in forgiving people who harm the most innocent people in the world…children. They deserve no forgiveness.

        1. wake up says:

          If you won’t forgive them, then you are no Christian. Who are you to judge. Yes, they are sleezballs who deserve what they get in jail. BUT a true Christian is willing to forgive ANYONE for ANYTHING. Stop being a hypocrite!!

          1. Niki says:

            If that’s the case than I am proud to not be a Christian. But then again, I am forgiven for not forgiving the sex offender,so I guess it all works out anyway. WOuld you let a sex offender babysit your children?

            1. Matt says:

              story has nothing to do with sex offenders babysitting children….

              1. Niki says:

                Yes I reaize that, I was saying that as an example for comparisson. If someone believes that these individuals are forgiven and all is good then they should have no problem with this right? It was just an example/comparison. In fact people do judge and don’t totally forgive. It is what it is.

                1. Eric says:

                  Going to a church service alone and babysitting children is like comparing apples to oranges.

                2. Niki says:

                  if you would have read my entire comment than you would see that I said that because the person said they believed the sex offender to be entirely forgiven and I stated that if that were the case would they let said sex offender babysit their children. My point is that they probobly wouldn’t because they don’t completely trust the sex offender and thus their are not totally forgiven.

            2. Gary C says:

              Are you forgiven for not forgiving…
              Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

              Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.Matthew 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

              Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

          2. mom says:

            wake up a true christian doesn’t need to forgive anyone, the person who did the wrong needs to seek out God and ask and pray for forgiveness and only then will God decide if his/her actions are truly remorseful. You say they are sleezballs but then you ask who one is to judge, what do you think you are doing. Anyone who harms a child doesn’t not deserve to be forgiven by anyone but if God decides to forgive them once they die that is up to him, until them they do not belong in our society. Once again children are being forced to alter their actions instead of the molester changing his ways.

            1. StanleyPeterson says:

              Forgive, but don’t forget! Keep your eyes on them, so you don’t let them do the same crime again. They too have obligation to say they are sorry.! True repentance with them, is true restitution to their victims! Do with Walk and less with talk! Only politican do that!

            2. Grown up says:

              ” the person who did the wrong needs to seek out God and ask and pray for forgiveness ”

              But only if they *don’t* do that in a church??

        2. Heather says:

          Niki, None of us “deserves” forgiveness. We receive it anyway. That’s what grace is all about. I’m not condoning what they have done, but it’s not our responsibility to assign eternal judgement. I’m all for putting them in jail etc. but we don’t get to decide who is forgiven.

          1. jackactionhero says:

            Yes we do get to decide. That is the entire purpose of a civilized society with laws.

            If you want to punish or forgive someone you have to do it while they’re alive, Einstein.

          2. markH says:

            “None of us “deserves” forgiveness. We receive it anyway.”

            I’d like to know exactly how you know this to be true? What sources of information do you have that provide that information? Please don’t quote a Biblical source because not everyone is Christian.

            The sad thing about Christian teaching is that all you need is a belief in Jesus to be “saved” and enter some heavenly realm, yet those who are moral and act righteously but do NOT believe are damned? One thing is very clear here; this offer has absolutely NOTHING to do with moral accountability-nothing whatsoever. It is nonsense. We are the judges of what is moral and we decide whom to forgive and whom to punish. We do not leave these responsibilities to unseen, unproven, and unfalsifiable entities. Peace.

            1. jackactionhero says:

              The difference between spiritual people and religious people is spiritual people are seeking understanding and religious people are seeking a reward.

        3. markH says:

          “I’m Christian but I do not believe in forgiving people who harm the most innocent people in the world…children.”

          There are many who would claim that you are not a TRUE Christian with this attitude, though I am not one of them. I believe all religions are false superstitions, though I do have compassion for those who believe (or claim to anyway) in these ideas. I just want you to be aware that adherents of all religions have so many variants and differing ideas (30,000 Christian sects alone) that I can safely say that just about anything goes with any of them at any given time-so who’s to say what a “Christian belief” is or is not? I think it’s all subjective and made up a-la-carte by those who only THINK they know the unknowable. Peace.

      3. Beachcomber says:

        Sorry if this is a re-post – first 2 attempts to reply seem to have failed.

        Minimize risk to others? I thought they were rehabilitated.

        1. Mark says:

          They are, however the terms of their probation won’t allow them to be in the same facility as children.

          1. Niki says:

            And that is in place because their violation was against a child. If it was an 18 year old sleeping with a 14 year old, sorry but that’s not legally acceptable whether or not someone morally thinks its fine

            1. StanleyPeterson says:

              These snakes with children. Sounds like the DFL?

  3. Dude says:

    The United Church of Christ? The Catholic Church should have come up with this idea.

    1. me says:

      But for them; EVERY service is for sex offenders – just as long as the PRIEST shows up

    2. ann says:

      I think their a break-off of the Catholic Church, The Congragationalist I do believe came over on the Mayflower.

  4. StanleyPeterson says:

    Many leftest Church’s like this, have fallen off a cliff and wind up in LA-LA land. Check-Out these loones and run to the nearest good church in your area? ………Ufta!

    1. Marine 0311 says:

      Not agreeing with this church at all, but what does left, or right in politics have to do with Jesus’s church?

      1. StanleyPeterson says:

        All churches are not the same? Some are full of loones, both right and left., but mainly on the Left! As a church, they must believe in the “Nicene Creed” or they most likely are out in; no where land? Check and verify their belief system, or you might end up in a spiritual ditch?

    2. Dude says:

      What, like a right-wing Christian Sharia church?

  5. Guy says:

    Think of who NEEDS God the most?

  6. Just Thinkin says:

    LuLz actually trying to ATTRACT sex offenders! I’m sure you would want to be seen going to the sex offender mass.

  7. Just curious says:

    Just curious Bob I thought your god forgives everyone who repents their wicked ways? you know free ticket to heaven thing! I hate these creeps more than anyone but you kinda come across as a self righteous SOB !! After all who are you to judge? You just might be the one headed to Hell.

  8. K. says:

    What’s next? Special hours at the grocery story so that only sex offenders will be there and no children? Special hours at the zoo so there would be no children there? Special games at the stadium so……you guessed it……there would be no children there? Come on people…………..where can you go without being exposed to children? This church thing is stupid!

    1. Niki says:

      And if there are no children, how many sex offenders do you think will even show up!?!

  9. BOB says:

    Not one sex offender should be allowed outside prison walls man or woman alike.Life sentances across the board. Now they want Gods forgivness and want to attend Church. I hope they all burn in Hell.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      There is no such place, so your hopes are pointless in that regard. If you want them to suffer you have to do it while they’re alive, smarty pants. Got a plan for that?

      1. desert eagle .50 says:

        Yes I do. Put them i a room and make them listen to your drivel for an hour. They’ll be begging to go to Hell.

        If you would be specific…well, never mind.

  10. PoliticiansSUX says:

    Just to be sure I understand this. As parents we many times need to attend different services. So now at this church there is one service that I can not attend even though no one inmy family committed any offence, because this chuirch wants to reach out to those most in need? You know, if the minister wants to bring this person to God and salvation, great, but do not take a whole scheduled mass and kick out all families becasue of it. If this was my church, I would respond with my checkbook, by taking it to another church.

    I agree welcome everyone, but do not put out your majority due to one or a few individuals.

  11. Niki says:

    Sex offenders should not be catered to! This is telling them that yeah it’s cool that you offended against children and we will make special rules for you. NOT OK!

    1. Mark says:

      No matter how big or small their offense, they do their jail-time, go through treatment, and try to get their lives back together. All the while, they are marked for life, unable to find work, or a place to live. Nobody is catering to them -but if the Church wants to help them lead a better life, why do you care?

      1. Niki says:

        It is catering to them when families are not allowed to go to the service because it would violate their parole guidelines and limitations. It’s not my fault he/she offended, there for why does everyone else have to adhere to their parole guidelines? That is catering. And generally the “child” limitation is put in on their parole guidelines when they offended against a minor. If the person was playing grab ass with other adults on Penn Ave they aren’t generally going to be told to stay away from children. The parole limitations are there for a reason, and as much as people want to say they dont offend….many do, whether they are caught or not is the issue.

        1. uh huh says:

          I think maybe you should do your research about sex offenders before you comment. If an 18 year old is having sex with a 15 year old (even if its consensual) and someone turns the 18 year old in; that person is to stay away from minors. There are a lot of people who are catered to in this world and I don’t think having a seperate church service is the end of the world and is going to do any harm!

          1. Niki says:

            If the crime was against a minor then they need to stay away from minors, so yes that includes the 18 year old dating the 15 year old…since that 15 year old is a minor. It doesn’t matter if your mom is fine with it, it’s illegal. Yes but many of those people who are catered to are not catered too strictly based on their crimincal actions, actions they chose to make. I don’t like old people, do you think they will make a church service for me without all the elderly?

        2. Eric says:

          I beleive if you read this article they are adding this service so they are not kicking families out of it since it never existed before.

          1. Niki says:

            The article doesn’t actually state that this is a new service time. But I get what you are saying. My thing is that a family can’t attend that service if it works better with their schedule due to the sex offenders parole limitations. There for it is not just the sex offender that is being limited to things but also the general popluation in Madison that attends that church or is visiting the area and wants to attend a church service. They are saying you can’t come here because of this person’s parole terms.

  12. look 'n' learn says:

    church/circe/circle/circus…hell/pit/grave/unseen abode of the dead

  13. look 'n' learn says:

    hebrew Gehenna/greek Hades is simply the grave/death/pit…you confused with the fire hell gets cast into you see in Revelation book

  14. look 'n' learn says:

    they(molestors) can repent and sin no more

    1. Niki says:

      Than how do you explain reoffenders?

      1. look 'n' learn says:

        same way as you can explain any person claiming follower of Christ,but still choosing to stick with the same old sin,in effect,crusifying Him over and over again,like ancient Israel does in the old test books,slaugfhtering all them animals over and over ’cause their hearts weren’t turned compleely over by obeying the 1st commandment,”Love Yahuah your Elohim with ALL”…miss this one?You miss the rest.

        1. Niki says:

          They killed the sheep because they didn’t believe in the people’s God? Sorry you lost me there.

        2. Niki says:

          So basically when you say they can repent and say no more that is a lie since they can clearly keep sinning, they just have to keep repenting and all is good!

          1. Janet says:

            Niki do you attend this church??? If not put a cork in it!!!

              1. Niki says:

                Oh, I didn’t know this comment board was limited to those who attend this church.

                1. thinking... says:

                  What this church does, isn’t affecting you!!! Sex offenders sit their time and have to pay for what they have done every single day! (As they should) However, I don’t think it’s a huge deal if they open a service for these people.

                2. Niki says:

                  Does it have to directly affect me in order for me to form an opinion? Abortion doesn’t directly affect many people and yet they form an opinion about that. I’m merely stating an opinion that seems to be different to what many others on here are saying, that doesn’t make my opinion less valid.

  15. Beachcomber says:

    Could one send a child (supervised, of course) to the special church service and have them all arrested for parole violation?

    1. jackactionhero says:

      If this is a seriuos inquiry, you are mentally challenged.

      1. desert eagle .50 says:

        Something you’re qualified to judge, no doubt.

        Please be specific.

  16. Mark says:

    Remember that the “sex offender” category is a wide umbrella. Some of these guys have done horrible things, true…however a VAST majority of them have committed small offences (like goosing somebody on the street, or an 18 year old getting caught with his 15-year old girlfriend). According to the DOC, around 95% of all released sex offenders never commit another offence. We might differ here, jackactionhero, but I don’t think grabbing booty on Hennepin Avenue warrants being burned alive. We’re not puritanical Salem.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      I’m referring to the level 3 variety who are for some reason released although they invariably will victimize others again. Sorry for not clarifying. I don’t think a 19 year old engaging with a willing 16 year old is deserving of such a title.

      1. StanleyPeterson says:

        Oh yes, in Liberal Minnesota you call out the exception and not the Rule! …………….Ufta!

  17. anti bachmann says:

    the priests are sex offenders to but they still say mass so whats the difference

  18. TINA says:


  19. really come on man! says:

    GOD WHO???

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