The LCA this month is launching its Campaign for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence under the tagline Hidden Hurts Healing Hearts to coincide with White Ribbon Day on 25 November.
The campaign, which has been developed as the result of a resolution passed at the 2015 General Synod (see Bishop John Henderson’s message on page 10), aims to build awareness within the church of the prevalence of family and domestic violence, as well as to train members in challenging those who use violence and in supporting victims of abuse.
The synod resolution called for the ‘condemnation of all forms of violence in the family’ and for a church-wide effort to address family violence within the church through measures which could include resources, education and providing pastoral care to the survivors and the perpetrators of abuse.
As a result, the LCA commissioned the Campaign for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. A working group, comprising lay members Colleen Fitzpatrick, Libby Jewson, Jacqui Kelly, Helen Lockwood, Angela Mayer, Stephen Rudolph, Peter Schirmer, and pastors Keith Stiller and James Winderlich, has overseen its development.
The words ‘Hidden Hurts’ highlight that we too often have not acknowledged the reality of domestic violence in our congregations, and have not always listened to the victims of abuse, nor given them the support and care they have needed.
The second part of the tagline developed by Jonathan Krause, ‘Healing Hearts’, reminds us that we are empowered by the grace of Jesus Christ to appropriately support victims of abuse and challenge those who use violence.
Hidden Hurts Healing Hearts aims to:
- Make everyone in the LCA aware of the scourge of domestic violence and its impact not only on victims, but also on families and church communities
- Give to members, through training and information, the confidence to challenge persons who use violence; and to give victims the support and care that they need; and
- Encourage all of us to demonstrate to each other and the wider society that there is a better way to live as God’s forgiven people. Our Christian calling is to live in submission to our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in peace and loving service to each other, particularly in our relationships with our family members.
The Lutheran Laypeople’s League and Lutheran Services Queensland have funded the campaign, including its coordination, providing training, and producing a website and promotional material.
The website will include information about forms of domestic and family violence; training for pastors, church workers and congregations; available support services, and scriptural and theological elements that affirm the life-giving message of the gospel and the equality of men and women. Visit the website at www.preventDFV.lca.org.au and please complete the online survey on attitudes to domestic violence.
It is our prayer and hope that all forms of violence and abuse in and among families will cease. That remains an unfulfilled desire while we remain sinful human beings, but our hope is in Jesus Christ.
In his June 2017 Heartland column, LCA Bishop John Henderson reminded us of Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesians: ‘For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life’ (Ephesians 2:10).
Ian Rentsch is Coordinator of the LCA’s Campaign for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.