One Sunday morning about 20 years ago, a young woman was in crisis because she had just escaped from an abusive husband. With her child in the back seat, she drove the car to nowhere in particular as she tried to get her thoughts together. On the right side of the road, she noticed a family crisis center. It seemed like it was closed because there were no cars in the parking lot. A little further ahead on the left was a United Methodist Church, and there were many cars in the parking lot.
She had grown up in a United Methodist church and this felt familiar, so she took a risk, turned left into the parking lot. As she and her three-year-old child walked into the church holding hands, one woman with a Welcome button on her sweater greeted her, and said, “Honey, you look like you could use a hug.” The young woman nodded, and the greeter wrapped her arms around the young woman. The young women melted into the warmth and love of that embrace. She was home.
She ended up moving to the church neighborhood, enrolling her child in the preschool at the church, and becoming an active member. Although she never told anyone at the church how she came to walk in that Sunday morning, she felt loved and accepted.
Domestic abuse is already happening in the homes of church members and the community it serves. According to the research published by Sheltering Wings, and organization that aims to prevent domestic violence, two-thirds of pastors believe that domestic violence occurs in the lives of their congregants. 85% of faith leaders said they have counseled more than 6 victims of domestic abuse. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic violence. In a congregation of 60, you could have more than a dozen women and nearly half a dozen men who are victims … and their abusers are likely praying right next to them.
The Mountain Sky Conference has partnered with Sheltering Wings to provide tools to church pastors and lay leaders when confronted with domestic abuse. Sheltering Wings also has resources and techniques that church leaders can provide to prevent domestic violence in the first place, breaking the cycle of generational abuse.
Join a virtual training on November 9th
, 6:00 - 7:30 pm (MT).
The training will provide an overview of the following:
- Define and explain the types of abuse
- Power and control models
- Signs of abuse
- Reasons victims stay
- Effects on children
- Barriers to leaving
- How to help
- And more.
Click here to register. Meeting Registration - Zoom