VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/28/20)—On September 12, 2020, American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) partnered with Safe Haven Ministries (MI) to provide a Domestic Violence Prevention and Education virtual training, Love Should Never Hurt. The Love Should Never Hurt training is a direct response to the increase of domestic violence due to COVID-19 and because domestic violence continues to be a critical ministry focus for ABWM. The training enabled clergy, church leaders, community groups, and domestic violence educators to come together in a safe and intentional manner to learn ways to support and aid those in their communities that are suffering from domestic violence. Participants gained knowledge, and skills useful in addressing and preventing domestic violence.
Tara Aday, Director of Prevention & Education for Safe Haven Ministries, led participants through a presentation that explored the characteristics of an abuser, COVID-19, and its impact on domestic violence. Aday shared practical ways during and beyond COVID-19 to support victims & for safety planning. Aday shared that “the single greatest thing we can offer those who are hurting is what makes us human. It’s using our gifts to just listen and support.” ABWM staff provided tools to examine biblical text and theologies to address issues of domestic violence. Esther 1 and Judges 19 were two passages explored by participants. Participants shared that the training increased their knowledge about Domestic Violence, and many reported that they are eager to share what they learned with their churches and communities. “Domestic violence is always right near us and yet so often we are unaware or unsure of what to do. ABWM will persistently provide education so that each of us is prepared to listen, be an ally, and act in the best interest of the survivor,” said Rev. Dr. Gina Jacobs-Strain, executive director of ABWM.
ABWM is committed to raising awareness and providing education to end violence against women. Domestic violence, in particular, is a crucial topic affecting women and families in our communities and our congregations. In 2019, in partnership with the Capital Area Baptist Association, ABC New York State, and Safe Haven Ministries, ABWM provided a 2-day in-person training that included an in-depth Bible Study and Church certification for domestic violence training. ABWM plans to equip leaders by providing another training on April 23-24th, 2021. The domestic violence training provided by ABWM has demonstrated that the Christian community plays a vital role in addressing violence against women and children. A video recording and educational materials from the Love Should Never Hurt training are available for purchase at www.abwomensministries.org/DMV.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.