Domestic Violence Ministry at Grace
Striving to live a righteous life does not ensure that one will be protected from the sinfulness of another. Survey research in the United States since the 1970s consistently shows that around 1 in 5 women report being victims of physical assaults from a current or former partner over the course of their lifetime. Domestic violence also includes any kind of behavior that a person uses to control an intimate individual through fear and intimidation. This includes all forms of physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, and economic abuse.
To address these issues, Grace's Health Cabinet has formed a Domestic Violence Ministry, with support from grants from Wheat Ridge Ministries and Thrivent. The Domestic Violence Ministry’s goal is to help our congregation become a safe haven for abuse survivors and perpetrators, a place where they can feel safe, begin to understand their pain, and be referred to the appropriate agencies for professional counseling. Several individuals within the congregation were trained by a local social service agency as first responders. First responders are not experts or professionals, but they are trained to guide domestic violence survivors to the next right step in receiving help. Phone numbers for staff members and the Constance Morris House hotline, are posted in the men’s and women’s bathrooms at Grace.
Referral to professional help is not the end of our caring role. Congregations must also be there to assist with spiritual issues and provide a healing environment throughout the process of recovery from abuse. Our congregation’s first responders, through special training, learned to understand the mindset of long-term abuse survivors, to recognize the importance of spiritual concerns for survivors, and to understand the survivors' confusion regarding the nature of sin and forgiveness as it relates to abuse. Appropriate responses to survivors of abuse who are struggling with spiritual questions focus on the innocence of the victim. Survivors need to be reminded that they did nothing to deserve the abuse.
We are making a concerted effort to make our church family safer, to help our leaders and congregants hold accountable those who abuse, and through professional help, to assist couples in restoring their relationship (if possible) or in mourning the loss of that relationship. “There is no fear in love,” 1 John 4:18.