Greetings, my friends:
I had the opportunity to speak to members of clergy regarding recognizing and discerning domestic violence in our places of worship.
Domestic violence is prevalent in our faith communities, however, as I told the clergy, we often turn a blind eye to the needs of our congregations. In a 2004 survey that was conducted by the Kentucky Injury Prevention Research Center, they found that 75% of the women who were affected by domestic violence talked to someone (family member, community member, etc.) and of that 75%, 26% of those women contacted their clergy. My question, what did the clergy do? Are we seeking assistance for these women or are we sanitizing sin, throwing the problem under the rug, ignorning or simply do not care? Do we get the perpetrators out of the pulpit, out of leadership positions, or do we continue to let them sit in the pew without calling on them for prayer and counseling? Do we visit the home? Are we mentoring?
What I stressed to the clergy, was to make members feel that they are listened to, that we care about them. There needs to be support from the pulpit for victims of domestic violence. Preachers and pastors, evangelists, prophets and prohpetesses should be speaking out about this evil. I directed scripture from Romans 5:5, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (KJV) We must never let someone feel that it is their fault why they are being abused. PositiveChristianWoman.com tells women, "at the core of our very beings, we should base our self-worth in nothing more and nothing less than Christ, in HIS magnificant love for us and how HE demonstrated that through HIS death and resurrection."
This is the time for us as God's people to get educated about the prevalence of domestic violence in our places of worship; to provide assistance through organizations for members who come for assistance. How we respond to someone of our congregation may make the difference between them coming closer to Christ or them walking out in darkness.
I pray that our churches and places of worship will get serious about this issue.
Therese from Belize