Member News

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ICSA Member News

January 2023

January 2, 2023 - From Hana Whitfield

I am deeply saddened to let you know that my beloved husband Jerry Whitfield passed last night (Sunday) at 10.33 pm.   He left us peacefully, without the pain that dogged his days for the last five months. And for which I am so grateful.   Jerry had a good life begining in the New Mexican high desert. Then, Los Angeles, a city he loved dearly, and lastly Cape Coral, Florida.

Jerry found his true calling in 1989, in educating and assisting families in how to retrieve their sons and daughters from an abusive cult, the Church of Scientology.   Jerry became one of a handful of professionals who had the courage and the skill to work with families with loved ones in Scientology.  He was highly successful, always kind and respectful, while gently questioning the cult's manipulative point of view.   Despite intense harassment from the Church, Jerry continued assisting families around the world into 2020.

I am extremely grateful to the friends, family, and all who have supported us during this very difficult period.

Again, thank you so much!


Last Month's Member News

Carol Giambalvo, RIP. Carol Giambalvo passed away on December 2, 2022. She was one of the pioneers in this field. She was an emeritus director of ICSA,  a former cult member, and retired thought-reform consultant. She was a cofounder of reFOCUS, a national support network for former cult members. She was on ICSA’s Board of Directors for many years until her retirement in 2018.  With ICSA, she was also Director of Recovery Programs and was responsible for ICSA’s Project Outreach. Author of Exit Counseling: A Family Intervention; coeditor of The Boston Movement: Critical Perspectives on the International Churches of Christ; coauthor of “Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants”; and coauthor (with Rosanne Henry) of “The Colorado Model” (ICSA Today, 1[1], 2010), Ms. Giambalvo wrote and lectured extensively on cult-related topics. In 2008 and in 2010, Ms. Giambalvo received ICSA’s Margaret T. Singer Award (shared with the other Colorado workshop facilitators). In 2018 she and her late husband Noel were given a Lifetime Achievement Award by ICSA. 

Paul Engel has informed us about virtual groups that his agency in New York will run.  "FamilyKind in partnership with  Queens Long Island Community Services  will run virtual groups on healing with forgiveness and gratitude from emotional, anger, and relational trauma ."  Many former cult members participate in these groups.  A 4-week program starts on December 7th (7:30 - 8:45 pm - $40); another Wednesday evening group runs from January 11 - March 1, 2023 ($80).    Call: 516-547-4318 or 718-461-6393 for more information . 

(RNS) — Rabbi A. James Rudin, the longtime interreligious affairs director for the American Jewish Committee, will be conferred the prestigious Papal Knight of St. Gregory for his work on Catholic-Jewish relations, one of the few non-Catholics to receive the honor.  Only eight other Jews have been knighted by the order, established in 1831, that recognizes personal service or unusual labor in support of the Catholic Church. Among them are three other rabbis, David Rosen and the late Mordecai Waxman and Leon Klenicki.  A Reform rabbi and also a writer who has contributed hundreds of columns over the years to Religion News Service, Rudin traveled widely meeting with popes, presidents, Protestant denominational leaders and world-famous evangelists in his efforts to improve Jewish-Christian relations in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust.

Rabbi Rudin's recently published memoir, The People in the Room: Rabbis, Nuns, Pastors, Popes, and Presidents, describes his efforts to improve Jewish-Christian relations after WWII and the Holocaust. A Religion News Service article states: "For more than 50 years, Rabbi James Rudin has worked to advance Catholic-Jewish relations, and interfaith relations on a wider scale, with extraordinary skill, dedication, and success,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, said in a statement. “The impact of this work continues to grow as successive generations build on the foundation Rabbi Rudin has established.”