May 17, 2019

By John W. Coleman

The Eastern PA Conference Domestic Violence Committee  will offer an unusual focus at its second Domestic Violence: The Church Responds seminar on Saturday, Sept. 28. Participants will focus on boys and men, and how to help them heal and unlearn socialized attitudes and behaviors that often contribute to intimate-partner abuse—otherwise known as toxic masculinity.* The seminar will happen from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Simpson House, 2101 Belmont Ave, Philadelphia, PA.

The Rev. Rickie Houston, a domestic violence specialist and trainer with the organization A Call to Men, will keynote the seminar. He has trained groups across the U.S., including religious groups and professional sports teams, and in West Africa, helping them to engage men in efforts to foster respect for, and end violence against, women.

Houston, who trains men, women and boys, believes in a developmental, holistic approach in his ministry that includes the “interaction of spiritual and social consciousness.” He is the pastor of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC.

A Call to Men is a violence prevention organization and respected leader on issues of manhood, male socialization and its intersection with violence, and preventing violence against all women and girls.

The half-day seminar will also feature a morning panel discussion with Houston, Chester County domestic violence prevention and response specialists, and the Rev. David Piltz, conference Coordinator of Young People’s Ministries. Piltz is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist who once trained for and staffed a domestic violence response hotline.

Afternoon workshops will include a focus on intimate-partner violence involving the under-24 Generation Z, and on ministry options to help men transform male cultural attitudes and behaviors that con-+tribute to disrespect and abuse toward women.

Registration online is preferred. The cost is $20 and includes breakfast, lunch and resources. Registration will open in June, once all workshops are confirmed. For more information contact the Rev. Jacqueline Hines, committee chairwoman.

The committee sponsored its first seminar, Domestic Violence: The Faith Community Responds, Nov. 17, 2018, featuring the Rev. Lydia Mulkey, from FaithTrust Institute. That seminar included workshops on offering pastoral and congregational care to DV victims and helping Generation Z youth understand, prevent and respond to gender violence. It also introduced the AMEND program, designed to help men identify and change beliefs and attitudes that support abusive behaviors.  

*In psychology, toxic masculinity refers to traditional cultural masculine norms that can be harmful to men, women and society overall; this concept of toxic masculinity is not intended to demonize men or male attributes, but rather to emphasize the harmful effects of conformity to certain traditional masculine ideal behaviors such as dominance, self-reliance, and competition. (Wikipedia)

Read the Domestic Violence Committee’s recent article, “Domestic violence is a social epidemic. Help stop it” and visit the committee’s webpage to learn more.