· Ministry to Men, Leadership Development, Church Renewal

Annual conferences urged to combat domestic violence

NASHVILLE, Tenn.––During most May and June sessions of annual conferences, local churches will be invited to participate in an eight-week program designed to change a culture, which permits violence against women.

The General Commission on United Methodist Men worked with the YWCA of Middle Tennessee to create Amending through Faith, a book guiding participants through eight training sessions.

The 90-minute sessions are designed to help men understand how common statements and actions result in one in four women in the US becoming victims of domestic violence and 5 million children in the US, or one in fifteen witnessing abuse in their homes each year. Each session is biblically based.

Tested in churches

The curriculum was tested in 15 congregations prior to making is available to all churches.

“This study helped me realize the way I was talking to my wife was hurting her and destroying our marriage,” said a participant.

Another member of an early test group said, “It was as if scales fell from my eyes and ears. I saw things and heard things that I had seen and heard before, but now realize how they degrade women.”

A man’s issue

“While there are rare cases of violence against men,” said Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the men’s commission, “nearly all the cases of domestic violence stem from action by men. This is a men’s issue and we have to stand up and say, ‘This is not acceptable. This is just wrong.’”

The commission has prepared a 3-minute video to introduce annual conferences to Amending through Faith, and conference organizations of United Methodist Men will be able to receive orders for leader’s guides and participant books.

Introduced to bishops

Hanke introduced the study and the 3-minute promotional video to the April meeting of the Council of Bishops. He also provided each bishop with a one-page information sheet and ordering information and access to the video.

The appropriateness of the study is not confined to the U.S.

Moscow Area Bishop Eduard Khegay was one of the first bishops to request material and is planning to promote the study in his episcopal area.

For additional information about the study, click here or call the Rev. Dr. Rick Vance (615/620-7277)

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