Domestic Violence: The Faith Community Responds

A new Domestic Violence Task Force is hoping to help Eastern PA Conference churches address this widespread, lethal problem in the church and in communities through a conference-wide educational and planning event on Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 AM to 2 PM, at West Lawn UMC in Reading.

“Domestic Violence: The Faith Community Responds” will feature as keynoter the Rev. Lydia Mulkey from the FaithTrust Institute, based in Seattle, Wash. Mulkey, who directs education at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois, has taught faith leaders about:

  • domestic and sexual violence prevention and intervention,
  • maintaining healthy boundaries to prevent ministerial misconduct, and
  • topics relating to teenagers, including relationship boundaries and trauma.

She has led children and youth ministries at churches in California, Tennessee and Illinois, and “has a passion for youth ministry and for creating safe and healthy environments in which youth can find their voices and tell their stories.”

West Lawn UMC was the site of a previous conference domestic violence training event, “Domestic Violence: A Faithful Response” in June 2015, also facilitated by FaithTrust Institute staff. The 40-year-old, interfaith organization trains and resources religious groups to “seek proactive solutions” to clergy sexual abuse and to domestic violence in the church and in society. At the 2015 event, which was funded by the national office of United Methodist Women, teams from nine churches learned many facets of domestic or intimate-partner violence and sexual abuse, and explored the necessity and possibilities for prevention and intervention by the church.

The conference Domestic Violence Task Force is hoping the 2018 Annual Conference will approve a new resolution to establish an official Conference Committee on Domestic Violence that may develop, support and coordinate a continuing, conference-wide response to the problem, while working to assist local churches in their efforts.

More information about the Nov. 17 event, including registration, resources and agenda highlights, will be reported prior to Annual Conference in June. The Domestic Violence Center of Chester County is assisting the task force in planning and providing leadership for the event. The center, which offers a Faith Community Response to Domestic Violence Toolkit, facilitated a similar training event for clergy and laity in October 2017 at Hopewell UMC in Downingtown.

NOTE: The Domestic Violence Task Force is seeking information from churches that are, or have been, involved in efforts to raise awareness and response to domestic violence and sexual abuse in their communities. We would like to catalog, learn from and report such efforts in our conference media. Please send information to communications@epaumc.org.  Thank you!