Susan Waters (England)

Susan Waters is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She is the mother of three children and lives in the Midlands. Her story has been an anonymous story on The Forgiveness Project website since 2005. In 2016, with her parents now dead, she waived her right to anonymity. The pressure to blindly forgive, particularly within Church… more

Gayle Kirschenbaum (USA)

Photo by Katalin Karolyi As a result of a deeply unhappy childhood, American filmmaker Gayle Kirschenbaum decided to take her mother to task by making a documentary about their difficult and painful relationship. The result was the award-winning documentary LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER!, a humorous, intimate and courageous film following the transformation of this tumultuous… more

Mike Haines (Scotland)

Mike Haines’ brother David Haines was a British aid worker who was beheaded by ISIS. David had been working for the international relief agency, Acted, when in March 2013 he was ambushed and kidnapped on the Turkish border and held captive in Syria for 18 months. In September 2014 a video of his murder was… more

Pardeep Kaleka (USA)

Photo by Jaspreet Kaleka In August 2012, Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four others in a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  It was the worst race-based attack in the U.S. since the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 in Montgomery, Alabama.  In the wake… more

Karsten Mathiasen (Denmark)

Karsten Mathiasen is a Danish clown and storyteller who shares here his own personal story of healing and forgiveness after a bitter marital breakdown. Karsten is director of Cirkus Bella Donna, one of the smallest circuses in Denmark and uses the art of storytelling in peacebuilding and social work – tilgivelse.dk. The catastrophe happened some years… more

Mathew Shurka (USA)

In 2004, when Mathew Shurka was 16 his father took him to a licensed therapist who claimed he could make gay people straight.  As a result Mathew, who lives in Brooklyn New York, is now a prominent activist working to end conversion therapy. I grew up in the suburbs of New York in a close-knit… more

Liz Stone (USA)

Photo by Amber Cashio Liz Stone was just 16 when her best friend was murdered; compounding her existing depression she was later hospitalized for attempted suicide. After a series of abusive relationships, she married and started a family but the trauma of her past caught up with her. I’ve been held captive twice in my… more

Matthew Boger and Tim Zaal (USA)

In 2005, Matthew Boger and Tim Zaal had a life-changing conversation. Both were working at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles when they realized they had met 26 years earlier, when a group of teen-aged Nazi-punks attacked and beat a gay homeless 14-year-old boy. Matthew Boger was that young boy and Tim Zaal, at… more

Brenda Adelman (USA)

Brenda Adelman’s mother, an award-winning artist and photographer, was shot and killed in her home in Brooklyn, New York, in 1995. Brenda’s father pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and served two and half years in prison. Since then, with a degree in Spiritual Psychology, Brenda has written a one-woman show, “My Brooklyn Hamlet”, based on… more

Scarlett Lewis (USA)

On Dec 14th 2012 Scarlett Lewis’s 6-year-old son, Jesse, was killed when gunman Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and shot dead 20 children and six staff before turning the gun on himself. It was the deadliest mass shooting at a school in U.S. history. Since then, with the encouragement of her older son… more

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