January 24, 2023

Contact: Jessica Felix Romero |

Sojourners Magazine Launches New Podcast, Lead Us Not:

Host Jenna Barnett examines what rebuilding trust and community means in the wake of abuse allegations through the case of spiritual leader Jean Vanier.


Washington, D.C. —Sojourners magazine has released the first episode of Lead Us Not, the publication’s first longform audio miniseries.

Hosted by Sojourners’ award-winning senior associate culture editor, Jenna Barnett, the series explores the legacy of Jean Vanier, a Christian leader once regarded as a “living saint” for starting L’Arche, a global network of communities promoting the dignity of people with intellectual disabilities. But nine months after Vanier’s death, a different — and darker — story emerged.

Available for free to listeners on all major podcast platforms, Lead Us Not explores an all-too-familiar question for people of faith: When trusted leaders commit sexual and spiritual abuse, how do our communities move forward?

“When prominent faith leaders commit abuse, the story usually ends with shocking reports about what happened and a non-apology from those in leadership,” says editor Betsy Shirley, who served as executive producer for the show. “But Lead Us Not goes further. What do we do if our own faith was deeply shaped by these leaders’ churches, ministries, or teachings? What does true accountability, repair, and healing look like in these communities?”

The series is based on interviews with more than a dozen past and present members of L’Arche, along with scholars, advocates, and theologians who are working to address these questions. But for Barnett, it’s also a deeply personal story.

“This podcast focuses on Jean Vanier in large part because he’s the fallen faith leader who I used to love,” says Barnett in the show’s first episode. “But just as easily, this podcast could have been about John Howard Yoder or former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick or Ravi Zacharias or too many others to name here.”

The first episode of Lead Us Not is now available across all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher. You can learn more about the podcast, sign up for email updates and bonus information about each episode, and get a transcript of each episode at


Sojourners is an independent, award-winning magazine of faith, culture, and politics founded in 1971. Our mission is to inspire hope and action by articulating the biblical call to racial and social justice, life and peace, and environmental stewardship.