What Can My Local Church Do to Help?

WHAT CAN MY LOCAL CHURCH DO TO HELP? WHAT CAN MY LOCAL CHURCH DO TO HELP PREVENT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN? Ask the pastor or some other qualified person to preach a sermon on violence prevention.

Ask those who have the main prayer during the worship service to pray for those in the congregation who are abused. One small but vital principle the church must apply is that of confidentiality. It is imperative that any victim of gender-based violence may speak with an appropriate church leader in total confidence. If

there is ever a situation in which the church leader is required to report to law enforcement or other appropriate authorities, s/he will disclose this to the person seeking counsel or assistance, and will treat the matter with utmost care and discretion. The victims safety is of supreme importance. Recognize that gender-based violence is a

tremendous evil, that it is never acceptable and cannot be condoned. Compile complete, up-to-date information about all resources in your community available to victims of any type of gender-based violence. Make sure the information is easily available to members and others. Get acquainted with shelters and referral sources to learn what services they offer and when

they are open. Collect funds and provide your church leaders with educational materials on gender violence. Create a church lending library of materials on genderbased violence issues relevant to your community so members and leaders may become educated on this vital topic. Organize a group to assess the needs in the local

community. What is one need your group can address that may help reduce gender-based violence? Create one or more safe houses where abuse victims can find emergency shelter. Present sermons and workshops to the congregation and the community on issues of gender-based violence relevant to your community.

Offer to present age-appropriate information in local schools. Examine church policies and practices to be sure none foster or encourage hurtful or discriminatory attitudes towards women. Provide ongoing support to a local womens shelter or other organization benefitting victims of genderbased violence.

Care for hurting people in our church. Be nonjudgmental. Develop support groups. Help raise awareness. Share materials about gender-based violence with your community. GENDER -BASED VIOLENCE AND THE CHURCH SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS AFFIRM THE DIGNITY AND

WORTH OF EACH HUMAN BEING AND DECRY ALL FORMS OF PHYSICAL, SEXUAL AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE AND FAMILY VIOLENCE. We recognize the global extent of this problem and the serious, long-term effects upon the lives of all involved. We believe that Christians must respond to abuse and family violence both within the church and in the

community. We take seriously reports of abuse and violence and have highlighted these issues for discussion at this international assembly. We believe that to remain indifferent and unresponsive is to condone, perpetuate, and potentially extend such behavior. We accept our responsibility to cooperate with other professional services, to listen and care for those suffering from

abuse and family violence, to highlight the injustices, and to speak out in defense of victims. We will help persons in need to identify and access the range of available professional services. (Voted by General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee, at the general Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 29-July 8, 1995.)

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