United Methodist Church Raises Awareness about Domestic Violence

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While The United Methodist Church has been working for decades to help those affected by domestic violence, October brings renewed focus to the issue as the nation observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Pastors have to know that when they first offer assistance, they are probably going to be turned down, but if you remain a non-anxious presence, sooner or later that person will turn to you and you can offer resources to her.

While The United Methodist Church has been working for decades to help those affected by domestic violence, October brings renewed focus to the issue as the nation observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Several United Methodist agencies provide advocacy and training on family violence to equip local churches and individuals with resources.

United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men have collaborated to launch a domestic violence initiative to raise awareness and provide training in United Methodist congregations to address the issue.

Free webinars this fall from United Methodist Women and FaithTrust Institute address the following topics. All are 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET (11 a.m. to noon PT). Click here for links to the webinars.

  •     Building Partnerships to End Domestic Violence, Thursday, Sept. 25
  •     Working with Survivors from Diverse Religious Traditions, Thursday, Oct. 9
  •     Making Connections for a Coordinated Community Response, Wednesday, Oct. 29
  •     Men’s Role in Ending Violence, Thursday, Nov. 13

The General Board of Church and Society also works to connect local congregations with resources. The agency has produced five brochures for Bible Study and discussion groups to explore the signs, causes and effect of domestic violence on individuals, relationships and communities.

Mississippi Area Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., whose mother was killed in a domestic violence dispute, says his loss has shaped his ministry and has given him a better understanding of why people stay in abusive relationships. “Pastors have to know that when they first offer assistance, they are probably going to be turned down,” he said. “But if you remain a non-anxious presence, sooner or later that person will turn to you and you can offer resources to her.”

Bishop Swanson urges clergy to not put themselves in danger, but to get to know local law enforcement. He suggests putting helpful resources in restrooms where women can look at them privately.

Learn more about how The United Methodist Church is raising awareness about family violence from United Methodist News Service. For help, call the U.S. Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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Diane Degnan
United Methodist Communications
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