· Leadership Development, Church Renewal

Seventeen churches test domestic violence curriculum

NASHVILLE, Tenn.––Seventeen United Methodist Churches are testing an eight-week study aimed at ending violence against women.

The General Commission on United Methodist Men developed the curriculum in cooperation with AMEND Together, an initiative of the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Representatives of these churches participated in a Dec. 12-13 two-day webinar where they received details about the curriculum that guides eight 90-minute study sessions.

“While advocacy is important, what makes this curriculum different than most is that it is a primary prevention tool that helps men address behaviors that objectify women and create a climate that tolerates violence against women,” said the Rev. Rick Vance, director of men’s ministry for the  Nashville-based commission.

Prior to webinar, training materials were reviewed by various people throughout the denomination. 

“The AMend Project is a timely study for this time in our society where the news is filled with reports of men crossing boundaries with women,” said the Rev. Dr. Linda D. Louderback, a retired district superintendent of the Great Plains Annual Conference. “The content is comprehensive, informational, intense and challenging. What an amazing undertaking to provide a way to engage in conversations in areas where most feel uncomfortable.  The broad range of topics found in this resource covers current issues in our culture that lead to abuse and violence. I can imagine that if men can get involved and engaged in this conversation it could lead to transformation toward respecting all.”

Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the men’s commission, says, “One in four women in the United States will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and more than 15 million children witness that abuse in their households every year. While there are rare cases of violence against men, nearly all these cases involve actions by men, and the macho culture in America creates a climate where women are viewed as objects. Only men can change this environment and only men can end domestic violence. This is a men’s issue and we have to stand up and say, ‘This is not acceptable. This is wrong.’”

Since AMEND Together’s work includes engaging young boys, Hanke hopes there will be a scouting tie-in down the road, adding that the program is a natural fit. United Methodist Men oversees scouting ministries and civic youth-serving agencies across the denomination.

A $20,000 World Service Fund contingency grant provided funds to prepare the curriculum.

If you have questions or are interested in participating in the program, contact Hanke (615/620-7264) (ghanke@gcumm.org).


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