Forgiving My Father

Sonja Maletta

Forgiving My Father

“I visited him in prison and said the words: I forgive you. There was an incredible weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t even know that I had been carrying it around. I cried with relief

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Forgiving My Father

“I visited him in prison and said the words: I forgive you. There was an incredible weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t even know that I had been carrying it around. I cried with relief for days.” 

This weekend, thousands in our community were moved by the video of Sonja Maletta, Campus Director at Clinton Township, who shared her own journey of forgiving her father and how she ultimately found freedom in Christ. Here is a follow-up interview about her new-found freedom and how God has redeemed her past. 


1.      I’m sorry about the timing of this…is Father’s Day difficult for you? It is hard on Father’s Day – it’s a trigger, but not as powerful as it used to be. At one point everything was a trigger (like seeing a prison), but that was when all this was still an open wound. I do feel at peace now, but I miss him and wish things were different. I longed for a normal family.
2.      What words would you use to describe your father? Unpredictable – you didn’t know what mood he would be in. He could be really loving and really mean. He was a drug addict and a violent drunk. I wonder now if he also had some underlying mental health issues. Whatever the case, he was emotionally unstable.
3.      What specific memories are burned into your memory? He beat my mom…a lot. I remember sitting on my friend’s front porch and seeing my mom run by, then my dad running after her. He pulled her home by her hair. Often, my sister and I would listen to them fighting at night and cry ourselves to sleep, terrified. Sometimes, I was woken up in the middle of the night to run because someone had warned Mom that Dad was drunk and coming after us. I would jump on my dad’s back to try to stop him from beating my mom.
4.      How did this difficult relationship effect you and your other relationships? What did you think about God? When I was young, it created walls between me and my friends. I couldn’t have them over. I was ashamed and embarrassed. As a young adult, I felt like a self-protecting survivor, and I vowed no man would ever lay their hands on me. I did not trust men, I didn’t plan to get married because I would never wanted to go through what my mom went through. I was really angry with God and didn’t feel loved by him at all.
5.      When did you become aware of the need to forgive him? How did it happen? God drew me to Himself through two things: becoming pregnant with my first son and realizing the intricacies of human life and all creation, and through my friend, Rachel, who loved Jesus and discipled me. God was changing my life, and when someone shared with me to ask God what was not pleasing to Him before taking communion, I kept thinking about forgiving my Dad.
6.      Did you ever say to yourself “he doesn’t deserve to be forgiven”? I wrestled with this for a long time. I didn’t think he was really remorseful so why forgive him? Now, I realize that the forgiveness was for me – not him. It’s my life, my territory. When we forgive, we are released. We’re giving the weight over to God – the one person who can shoulder the burden. I think a lot of people don’t know that they are carrying around unforgiveness and so are kept captive and weighed down.
7.      What would you say to a reader who feels like the offense they are carrying around is un-forgivable? The person that wronged you is likely walking around without thinking about you or the offense. Don’t give them that power over you to rule your life. Unforgiveness eats you alive. You dwell on it, things will trigger your memories – reminders are all around us. It’s time to give it up so that you will be free from it. With God, nothing is impossible.
8.      What does un-forgiveness feel like? What does forgiveness feel like? Unforgiveness is like a dead weight that holds us down. Maybe it’s a general heaviness, maybe it’s a tightness in the throat, or a queasy feeling in the stomach. Or, emotionally speaking, it’s a scar that never heals and keeps busting open. Forgiveness, on the other hand, feels like a weight has been lifted off of our backs. It’s weightlessness. A sense of zero gravity. It also seems like clarity to me: like everything in the world becomes sharper, more colorful, more beautiful all of a sudden when that cloud is lifted.
9.      What did forgiving him look like? Was it a conversation, a one-time prayer, a process? Forgiveness was both. There was a long battle leading up to the words, “I forgive you.” Then the ongoing work to stay in that place of forgiveness. In the beginning, I battled with God for by saying he did not deserve forgiveness. When I visited him in prison and said the words: I forgive you, there was an incredible weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t even know that I had been carrying it around. I cried with relief for days. I had no idea I was the one that was the prisoner. When you forgive somebody you began to see the person as God sees him– with a completely different kind of love. I saw his brokenness and felt compassion for him. He had been kicked out, rejected, homeless. He needed love.
10.  How has forgiveness effected you and your other relationships? I am much quicker to ask for forgiveness when I have offended someone and to accept someone’s apology when I have been offended and to truly move on. Otherwise, we are giving that space in our minds and hearts over to darkness. It’s really true that we can repay evil with good.
11.  Your dad passed away from cancer in prison while you were petitioning to bring him to your home. Tell me about that? I feel like I fully forgave my dad a year prior to his death. When he got cancer, I fought to have him come to my home to die with family. It was devastating that he passed away one week before I got the approval. I was angry with God for taking him when he did, but I also trust that God is good all the time. We only see the front of the train and God sees the whole train. Maybe it was better for me this way…I’ll ask Him when I get to heaven!

12.  Has any good come from all this heartache? What has God done in your life? I want people to know that Jesus has worked in all of this. I have love, joy, and peace. I now know my identity in Christ, and it has given me freedom. My hardships have helped to make me empathetic. I just love people. Empathy is my number one strength. Even in the court room, I was thinking of the mother who lost her son. I know that all things work for good. And, I don’t need pity from anyone for the past because I have been redeemed. Fully redeemed! God has sent me people with similar situations to minister to and speak encouragement over.

Watch the video of Sonja’s story here.


Financial Peace University (FPU)

Financial Peace University (FPU) is a catalyst to help people live in financial freedom and enable them to have a posture of openhandedness. We have witnessed numerous Kensington families experience life change as a result of applying Biblical truths to their personal finances. The real blessing is seeing people create lives of margin that allow them to hear and respond to the Lord’s calling on their lives.

Please email with any questions.


easter Tickets

No tickets needed for Good Friday

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For additional questions, please contact or call 248.786.0637


What is my purpose? What value does the Bible have in my life? How do I pray? How can I grow in confidence to share my faith? These are the big questions that are at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with God. Alpha is a space to explore life’s big questions, to say what you think and to hear other people’s points of view. Over ten-weeks you will explore and discover while listening to weekly topics, participating in table discussion, and developing community. Alpha courses meeting in-person gather around a meal.

You don’t have to come for the whole series—just check it out for the first session and see what you think. No pressure.

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Bible Basics

Whether you are brand new to the Bible or have been reading it for decades, Bible Basics is a course that will help you understand the overall flow of the Bible. Over the course of several weeks, learn how the Bible came from the original writers to the English versions we have today. We’ll look at the big-picture story of the Bible and how all the individual books add to the whole. We’ll even learn a little about the history of the Jewish nation. But most of all, we’ll grow in our awe of the amazing author of this amazing book!

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Marriage Classes

What grows marriages? Focusing on the two of you and being in community!
The Marriage Course includes seven sessions, designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Some couples do the course to intentionally invest in their relationship, others are looking to address more specific challenges. Either way, the course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help you build a relationship that lasts a lifetime. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

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Marriage and Blended Family

The Marriage Course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Strengthen your communication and gain a deeper understanding of your partner. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

The Blended Family Workshop addresses the confusing roles and boundaries involved in blending families and identifies why parents so often struggle in blending their efforts. Find a community of people who are contemplating blending a family or are “in the trenches” building and growing their blended family!

Please email with any questions.

Troy Campus

Join us Sunday night, December 5th for a Community Prayer Vigil at Kensington Church at 6:00 pm. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to come together for a time of hope and prayer. 

Following the Vigil, at 7:00 pm, there will be breakouts for students and for parents to process and be equipped in caring for themselves and those around in times of tragedy.

Clinton Township Campus

We will be offering a time for our congregation to gather after each service for a time of corporate prayer in the Greatroom. Prayer will be offered at 10:15 am and 12:15 pm. (25000 Hall Rd, Charter Twp of Clinton, MI 48036)

This Sunday at 3:30 pm as a community we want to gather, pray and mourn together. We are all looking for answers and wondering why tragedy happens but we can find hope and peace in Jesus. 

Orion Campus

We believe that unity at this time is more important than ever. Several churches in the area are partnering together to offer space for students to begin the process of healing.

We will have several grief and trauma specialists on site this Sunday evening at our Orion Campus (4640 S Lapeer Rd Lake Orion, MI 48359) from 5-6:30pm and will have a night of prayer, worship and an opportunity for students to process with each other.

Tate Myre Funeral:
Monday, 12.6 Visitation 1 to 8pm
Tuesday, 12.7 Visitation 10-12pm and funeral at Noon

Parents & Student Resources

Parents – self care is critical. It’s important to do your own processing with another adult so that you can be more present as your child processes. Here are tools that you can use to get you started.


Helpful Blogs

Other Materials

Counselors Are Needed After Tragedy

“The aftermath of the Oxford shooting tragedy will undoubtedly result in traumatic symptoms and experiences across our communities for quite some time. Healing the brain through evidence-based therapies is absolutely possible with clinical guidance. There is a valuable village of Trauma Therapists with collective resources standing by for Oxford, for both direct and secondary survivors to engage in therapy. Until then, we honorably hold a sacred space, as students, families, staff and school partners continue to mourn.” -Laura Azoni, LMSW, Founder of Sanctuary Services

Birmingham Campus

We are offering a time for our congregation to gather after the 10am service for prayer in the Groves Auditorium, 20500 W 13 Mile Rd, Beverly Hills, MI 48025.

On Sunday evening, Dec 5, parents of high school and middle school students are invited to the second half of our Edge gathering at Genesis Church, 309 N Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067, at 6:15pm. We will have a breakout to equip parents in caring for themselves and processing pain with their children in times of tragedy.

Learning Labs

Pathways is a series of open conversations exploring practices and rhythms for spiritual transformation and discipleship. We will unpack different ways to pray, read scripture, live in community, and encounter God by opening the floor to talk about our own lived experiences, perspectives, and insights on what it means to grow closer to God. Meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month at Troy Campus, beginning September 21st. Contact 
to sign up.

Together Again

updated June 23, 2021

It’s been life-giving to be in-person for our weekend services since last July when we reopened. If you haven’t yet, we invite you to join us in person sometime soon.

Reservations and ticketing have been discontinued at all our campuses.

Masks are optional at all services, events, and ministry gatherings for kids, students, and adults. We know that everyone needs to make the right health decisions for themselves and their family, so if you feel comfortable removing your mask, you may. And if you’d like to continue wearing a mask or face covering, you may do that as well. This is a personal choice that only you can decide what is best for yourself when attending in person at Kensington.

If you are sick, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have possibly been exposed to COVID-19, please plan to stay home and participate in our services via our many online streaming options.

At the start of the pandemic, Kensington’s Executive Team commissioned a group of staff members as a COVID Task Force to establish protocols and procedures for the safety of our church community. Thanks for sticking with us throughout all the changes and adjustments over the past 15 months.

We’re grateful to be together again!